Connect with us


Sunrockers Shibuya Moving in the Right Direction

With five victories in their last six B.League games, the rebuilding Sunrockers Shibuya have showcased their talent and potential to be a playoff contender.



Sunrockers Shibuya
Sunrockers Shibuya guard Genki Kojima shoots a jumper in a game against the Osaka Evessa on December 10, 2023, at Aoyama Gakuin Memorial Hall. (B.LEAGUE)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Sunrockers Shibuya Moving in the Right Direction

After finishing the opening month of the 2023-24 B.League season with a 2-7 record in October, the Sunrockers Shibuya have started to hit their stride. 

The Sunrockers have won five of their last six, including a pair of two-game series sweeps in December.

Shibuya (8-11 overall) opened the season's third month with 92-82 and 89-67 victories over the visiting Sendai 89ers on December 2 and 3 at Tokyo's Aoyama Gakuin University.

The Fighting Eagles Nagoya then topped the visiting Sunrockers 61-56 on December 6. Three days later, Shibuya returned to the win column with a 79-56 triumph over the visiting Osaka Evessa. And on Sunday, December 10, the Sunrockers completed the weekend sweep, beating the Evessa 77-65.

Up next: Shibuya faces the Chiba Jets (11-8) on Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17 at Funabashi Arena.

Sunrockers Shibuya
Sunrockers coach Luka Pavicevic (B.LEAGUE)

The Sunrockers are Rebuilding with a New Head Coach

Shibuya entered the season in a rebuilding mode, with new head coach Luka Pavicevic leading the effort. In the 2022-23 campaign, the Sunrockers had a 28-32 record and missed the playoffs. 


Pavicevic said recent games have been a positive catalyst for the Sunrockers.

"Winning two games in a row against the Osaka Evessa was huge and very important for us right now," Pavicevic told reporters on Sunday. "We had a tough schedule this week with a game on Wednesday [against the Fighting Eagles], but I told the players to fight hard. And in fact, we were able to fight hard and strong."

What's the coach's assessment of his team's play in December?

"Winning four out of five games after the bye week is great," Pavicevic said, "and it is a good result as we are rebuilding the team."

Nearly one-third of the way through the season, the Sunrockers have shown signs of being a potential playoff contender despite their poor start. First and foremost, climbing above .500 would be an important benchmark.

Sunrockers Shibuya
Shibuya guard Anthony Clemmons had 16 points in a 79-56 win over Osaka on December 9. (B.LEAGUE)

Weekend-Opening Win Over Osaka

In the weekend opener, offseason signee Josh Hawkinson scored a team-high 20 points and fellow newcomer Anthony Clemmons poured in 16 to lead Shibuya's balanced scoring attack. Former Duke University and NBA forward Ryan Kelly, a Sunrocker since 2018, chipped in with 11 points. 

The hosts outscored the Evessa 42-26 in the second half to secure a 23-point winning margin.

Also on Saturday, new teammates Aki Chambers and Daiki Tanaka contributed eight and seven points, respectively, for Shibuya. And 43-year-old backup center Jeff Gibbs, a formidable inside presence in the B.League era for the Utsunomiya Brex and Nagasaki Velca, had a productive outing in 20-plus minutes (six points, 12 rebounds) for his new team.


On defense, the Sunrockers players had a cohesive performance, holding Osaka to 35.9% shooting from the field.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

Our Partners