Read the full story on SportsLook - Chiba Cruises Past TNT to Usher in the East Asia Super League Campaign
FUNABASHI, Chiba Prefecture ― Leading by the slimmest of margins at halftime, the Chiba Jets excelled in the third quarter against TNT Tropang Giga in the teams' East Asia Super League Group A opener.
The Jets extended their lead to 15 points entering the fourth quarter and cruised to a 93-75 victory on Wednesday night, October 11 at Funabashi Arena.
Chiba, one of two B.League representatives in the 2023-24 EASL season, outscored visiting TNT, a Philippine Basketball Association club, 26-12 in the pivotal third quarter.
The Jets' Justyn Mutts made a layup 10 seconds into the third to initiate a game-changing scoring spurt. After former NBA forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed a fadeaway jumper for TNT, Ira Brown grabbed the defensive rebound and delivered an authoritative dunk on Chiba's next possession. Mutts made a pinpoint pass to Brown, leading to a 49-44 lead at the 9:16 mark, and the Jets were showing signs of playing with better rhythm than they had in the first 20 minutes against their Filipino opponent.
Hollis-Jefferson sank his next shot, another fadeaway jumper, to cut the lead to 49-46. But Mutts, running the offense with alert eyes, dished the ball to DJ Stephens on the perimeter, and the veteran American forward canned a 3-pointer to double the lead.
With 5:51 to play in the third, TNT veteran guard Jayson "The Blur" Castro made a driving layup, cutting the hosts' advantage to 58-51.
Pivotal Run in East Asia Super League Opener
Then the Jets, the B.League championship runners-up in the 2022-23 season, responded with a 13-2 run that ate up nearly half of the quarter. Stephens buried a 3-pointer to ignite the scoring run. Teammate Ren Kanechika knocked down back-to-back 3s to extend the lead to 69-53 with 2:13 remaining in the third.
Chiba took a 71-56 advantage into the fourth quarter.
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Author: Ed Odeven