The Alvark Tokyo embodied a team-first attitude throughout their title-winning season.
They kept things simple, demonstrating that well-executed fundamentals, not complicated tactics or endless mind games, are the recipe for success. They collected nine straight victories to cap their championship season, including an 85-60 victory over the Chiba Jets Funabashi on Saturday afternoon at Yokohama Arena.
After posting a 44-16 record in the 2016-17 season, one that didn’t see the Alvark advance to the B. League Championship Final, team management shook things up. The Alvark relieved Takuma Ito of his head coaching duties after two seasons in charge, replacing him with the more experienced Luka Pavicevic.
The team also retooled its roster, making rising star Daiki Tanaka a bigger focal point of its offensive attack. Excellent decision. He exudes confidence in his teammates and has a knack for making big plays in pressure-filled moments, as evidenced in the playoffs. They also brought in frontcourt standouts Alex Kirk, who had a game-best 23 points in the final, and Jawad Williams, whose buzzer-beating, long 3-pointer at the end of the first half gave the Alvark a jolt of momentum heading into the intermission. They also added guards Genki Kojima and Seiya Ando and rookie small forward Yudai Baba to the roster.
As the season began, Pavicevic’s club seized the opportunity that was in front of them, conquering opponents with stellar offense and aggressive defense. The Alvark, who went 44-16 again, were one of the elite teams throughout the season.
And they were especially impressive on Sundays, when other teams lost a step or two due to fatigue on the second day of back-to-back games. On the other hand, Tokyo went 21-6 on Sundays.