Matthew Wright and Justine Baltazar win the inaugural Japan B.League

MATTHEW Wright was held to five points, but Kyoto Hannaryz still managed to earn a 66-65 victory over the Sendai 89ers in the 2022-23 Japan B.League season on Sunday at Kyoto City Gymnasium.

Gunner Fil-Canadian shot 2 of 5 from the field in 15 minutes of action, plus two rebounds and an assist while committing five turnovers as he continued to play despite a back injury.

Wright has revealed he strained his back days before his B.League debut and injured himself again trying his fitness in full contact training.

Still, Wright’s poor performance couldn’t hold off Kyoto as Yoshiaki Kubota made four of his last six free throws in the final 21 seconds to secure the Hannaryz’ first victory of the season.

Kubota had 16 points, five assists and three boards, TJ Lall had 12 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals, and Jarrod Uthoff had 11 points and four rebounds as Kyoto improved to 1-1.

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Sendai relied on Justin Burrell’s 16 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

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Justine Baltazar also made her debut for the Hiroshima Dragonflies in a 70-68 win over the Yokohama B-Corsairs at Hiroshima Sun Plaza.

The Gilas Pilipinas striker registered just four minutes and grabbed a rebound in his first game in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored for Hiroshima with 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Nick Mayo had 21 points and nine boards in the victory to improve to a 1-1 map.

It ruined Charles Jackson’s perfect night as he scored 22 points on 10-of-10 shooting, along with seven rebounds and two blocks.

Jay Washington, meanwhile, did not play in the Ryukyu Golden Kings’ 85-70 rout of defending champion Utsunomiya Brex at Okinawa Arena.

Jack Cooley’s 17 points and nine rebounds led all six players to score in double figures to improve to 2-0 for the season.

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Josh Scott and Makoto Hiejima led the Brex with 12 apiece.

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