STEVAN Jelovac came up big in the payoff period as San-En NeoPhoenix escaped with an 80-79 upset win over SunRockers Shibuya in the 2020-21 B.League Saturday at Toyohashi City General Gymnasium.
The Serbian reinforcement poured five of his 19 points in the fourth period as he anchored the home team's 14-0 rally to fight back from a 72-64 deficit with 7:35 remaining to grab a 78-72 lead with 3:09 left to play.
Jelovac also added six rebounds and five rebounds to help San-En end its six-game losing skid.
But the game almost slipped away from the NeoPhoenix's hands as the SunRockers fought back and cut the lead to one after a Charles Jackson jumper with 25 seconds left.
Tatsuya Suzuki botched both of his freebies with 19 ticks remaining, giving Shibuya one last chance, but Leo Vendrame's potential game-winning three rimmed out at the buzzer as San-En escaped with the tight one-point win.
Kyle Hunt also played a crucial role in this NeoPhoenix victory with his game-high 23 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.
Kazuya Tsuya chimed in 11 points, four boards, and three assists, while Hayato Kawashima also got 11 points, four steals, and two assists to rise to an 8-28 record.
It was a big triumph for San-En, especially against Shibuya, the same foe where Thirdy Ravena suffered his fractured right index finger back in January.
Jackson paced the SunRockers (23-12) with a double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds in the defeat.
Kaito Morizane scored 14 points, while Vendrame got 13 points, eight assists, three steals, and two rebounds.
The two teams face off anew on Sunday to finish their two-game series.