A little more than two months ago, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed another great performance on the road taking apart the Bayer Giants Leverkusen for the second straight year as German wunder kid Isaac Bonga led the charge with 26 points last season and 19 points this season. Like so often this season, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were unable to give a very good performance for 40 minutes as they have proven this season to have been underachieving despite having a very solid guard rotation of Alexander Blessig and Marvin Heckel and two potent import inside players with Bruce Beckford and Donovan Jack and all rounder CJ Oldham. The biggest problem has been their inability to defend at a high rate on a consistent level as they allow 80 points per game while scoring 78 per game. The club reacted at the start of 2018 bringing in talented 26 year old 196cm small forward Ron Mvouika from France who after a roller coaster ride from Sheridan JC (JUCO) and Missouri St. (NCAA), he finally landed with St Johns in his senior season 2015-2016 where he captained the team for legendary 1992 Dream team player and now coach Chris Mullin who treated him like a pro from day one. Leverkusen landed a coup with Mvouika as he prompt led the team on a two game winning streak. They did lose last weekend to Iserlohn as their lackluster defense reared it´s ugly head again on the court losing 95-84. However Mvouika who compares his game to Paul George has been more than just a fresh breath of air, but been a lot more as he has taken the Pro B by storm and proven to be a very versatile player that can do it all on the court as through three games he was averaging 19,0ppg, 5,0rpg, 4,0apg, 1,3 and is shooting 47,1% from outside. He has never had it easy in his career, but he has always believed in his abilities and his road up the basketball ladder continues now with Leverkusen. “I am a very confident person because I know the work I put in every day. Basketball is not a sport to me, it’s my life so me not finding stability since coming out of college never really made me doubt myself or anything else. I was just working very hard every day, waiting on the right opportunity to present itself, an opportunity where I could express myself and show the world what I can do and Bayer was the perfect marriage. I don’t feel or add any pressure, if anything, I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time so now its time to show all the work that I was putting behind close doors”, warned Ron Mvoiuka.
The French man came with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen to Frankfurt and was looking to start a new winning streak while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were looking for their second victory in a row in 2018 and they overcome a quick start by the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and controlled the game from the second quarter until the 40 minutes had eclipsed playing consistent offense and playing with passion on the defensive end winning 81-65.
After the win, 18 year German wunderkind Isaac Bonga who is used to signing many autographs at home games also had some requests from Leverkusen fans following the Pro B win and was content with how his team performed. “When we play good defense then we always have good chances to win. We did a good job keeping a 10 plus lead with a good rhythm on offense and always found our shooters”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Isaac Bonga. Long after the final siren sounded, French man Ron Mouvika finally exited the locker room and had a long face and his soft words were hardly understandable as he was mopping up the stairs and out of the BCM gym. “We played with a lack of energy. That started with me. I was too passive and didn´t let the game come to me. I didn´t fight enough. I had a better third quarter, but couldn´t finish the way I should have. But I am optimistic. We are still in the race. It´s not over yet”, warned ex St Johns(NCAA) forward Ron Mvouika. CJ Oldham who is a versatile player that can fill the stat sheet at ease did it again, but produced only two points as he was off from his 7,2ppg average and explained that being successful on this day was lacking on the effort end. “Frankfurt came out with a lot more energy than we did. We fought, but against a team like Frankfurt we had to have fought harder than how we did. We were unable to use the pressure they gave against them. We also didn´t do a good job rebounding. Frankfurt did a good job taking us out of our comfort zone in all things. Mvouika has given us a lot of energy on both ends of the court. He has a good personality and has been a huge boost for us”, added CJ Oldham.
With the Fraport Skyliners Juniors one never knows if an Isaac Bonga will play mainly because he is concentrating on the EasyCredit BBL, but even if it was the day after a win in Tuebingen, one might still have thought that a guy like Bonga might not play simply because of the injury woes to Frankfurt even if they are mostly at the front court positions. On the other hand, Bonga has had some of his best games against Leverkusen with 19 points this season and last season produced his best Pro B scoring game with 26 in Leverkusen so it wasn´t so much a surprise that he would play against a team where he has often looked good against. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen got on the board first as ex Rollins(NCAA2) guard Alexander Blessig found ex Penn State(NCAA) American Donovan Jack for the nifty alley-op dunk. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors quickly retaliated going on a 7-0 run as Bonga nailed a trey, ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb scored inside and 20 year old German Armin Trtovac made an old school like hook shot for the 7-2 lead. Both teams had found their offenses rapidly as defense was still put on the back burner as Leverkusen answered with a 5-0 run to deadlock the game at 7-7 as American Bruce Beckford from Maryland nailed a three and Donovan Jack hit a jumper. From then on, fans in the small but comfy BCM gym would experience a back and forth that isn´t seen so often in basketball as there were 13 lead changes. Bonga was extremely active in the lead changes as he scored 8 points and scored three times in a row as he danced into the lane and finished as if he was on a leisurely walk on a Sunday afternoon. Bonga who is known as an extremely unselfish player noticed quickly that he could be more a scorer on this day than necessarily a set up guy as he was getting the lane time in and time out and was aggressive. English player Jules Akodo also scored twice in the paint and Germans ex Kronberg guard Felix Hecker and Trtovac also finished with success in the paint area. Leverkusen was living off their outside shooting as German Michael Kuczmann who has been with the club for 15 years nailed back to back trey´s, ex Rhondorf guard Tim Schonborn hit a trey and young German Benjamin Nick scored four points. After one quarter and 13 lead changes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the narrow 24-23 lead. “Both offenses were clicking and they were comfortable. Both teams also got easy points on transition. These kind of things happen sometimes in basketball”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 56% from the field and 17% from outside and had 10 rebounds and three turnovers while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 57% form the field and 57% from outside and had four rebounds and three turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors took control and would build a big lead with 10 plus points which would carry them until the end of the game. In the first few minutes the game remained tight as Armin Trtovac who a day earlier had had his genuine break out game in the easyCredit BBL with eight points and five rebounds in 10 minutes in the win in Tuebingen scored with a hook shot and lay in while Jack kept Leverkusen afloat with a big heads up play catching Marvin Heckel´s airball and making the put back and recording a hook shot as they trailed Frankfurt only 30-27. However then came the turning point of the game as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would break open the game and go on a 18-4 run and lead 48-31 at the break. Frankfurt was led by Bonga who scored eight points and four buckets in a row as it was the Bonga show and the only truly missing on the Skyliners bench was the popcorn and butter. Bonga´s three pointer was accurate on this night as he finished shooting 40% from the parking lot as he nailed one in this quarter, but also continued to be a big boy among small boys as he continued to glide in the zone and finished easily three times. They also got buckets from ex Ehingen center Tobias Zahn and Zeeb as well as free throws from German four year man Konstantin Schubert and Akodo. Bonga had 20 points at the break and would finish with 30. After the win, Bonga sounded almost embarrassed to talk about himself and his scoring knowing he is more the playmaker that let´s his teammates shine. “Today was a game where I scored, but only because my teammates gave me the chances. I was happy with how I penetrated, but my shooting is something I continue to work on”, warned Isaac Bonga. “Bonga is a good player. He played with a lot of self confidence and he never panicked, but was always calm”, added Ron Mvouika. The Frankfurt offense continued to be consistent, but the club also picked up their defense as the guard trio of Bonga, Zeeb and Akodo really carried the team with their aggressive disruptive play that the Bayer Giants Leverkusen just could get accustomed to. Frankfurt also did a stellar job limiting two of their stars Mvouika and Beckford to a combined 5 points as Donovan Jack had to pick up the slack. “Frankfurt did a good job with defensive intensity and putting more pressure on the opponent. They also played good team defense closing down their top scorers. They also forced their opponent to more turnovers while their offense stayed in rhythm. Bonga also took over the game and was a leader. He is so unselfish, but sometimes you need to look to score and that is what he did”, stressed Canadian national player Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 58% from the field and 23% from the three point line and had hauled down 18 rebounds and had five turnovers. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 41% from the field and 36% from the three point line and they had secured 15 rebounds while coughing up the ball 11 times.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept their lead as their consistent offense continued and their defense also was able to tame the Bayer Giants Leverkusen offense. There seemed some early hope for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen as German Alexander Blessig who started his career with FC Bayern Munich in the Pro A at age 17 scored in bunches getting a lay in and then hit a jumper as Frankfurt led only 48-35. Frankfurt kept their lead as they continued to bang the ball inside as Trtovac got to the free throw line three times but wasn´t successful on all shots keeping the Leverkusen hopes alive. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen did a good job limiting the Frankfurt outside shooting while moving the ball around and going on a 9-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 54-44. Leverkusen got a basket from Nick and Kuczmann and also five points from Mvouika who hit a trey testing his 47% shooting from downtown and scored in the lane. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to also get production from many different heads as Akodo and Schubert scored inside while Zeeb hit for a trey. Leverkusen continued to battle the turnover plague as they were coughing up too many balls as well as leaving many easy put backs on the rim and also gave up too many second chances to Frankfurt. Mvouika continued to carry Leverkusen as he finally found his rhythm as he showed his aggressiveness and touch around the basket with a lay in and hit with a beautiful submarine lay in at the buzzer as Frankfurt led 63-52 after 30 minutes. “We did a good job in stress situations not getting turnovers, but staying calm. We got to the free throw line and everyone that came in the game produced”, added Isaac Bonga. “We started with a run, but they came back with their own run. The difference here was energy and effort that we didn´t have”, warned CJ Oldham. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 48% from the field and 21% from the parking lot and hauled down 28 rebounds and had 10 turnovers while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 47% from the field and 36% from the parking lot and secured 24 rebounds and had 15 turnovers.
The Bayer Giants Leverksuen came out with another good start in the fourth quarter, but couldn´t hold the momentum as easy errors and Frankfurt routine and execution stopped them. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen like in the third quarter came out with a quick 4-0 run as Oldham made a lay in after getting a pretty extra touch pass form 32 year old German Goetz Twiehoff and Beckford also scored in the paint as Frankfurt suddenly only led 63-56. However that was as close as the Bayer Giants Leverkusen would get as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then rattled off a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 75-50 which closed the chapter on this game. Frankfurt countered with a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 69-56 as Trtovac hit one free throw, Bonga scored in the lane and Fountain surprisingly hit his first field goal of the game with a trey as he had been kept extremely quiet on the scoring front all game long. Despite Twiehof making a tap in on the third Leverkusen attempt on that play, it was Bonga who slammed the door shut on Leverkusen staying in attack mode hitting four free throws and making another lay in. In the last few minutes both teams traded buckets as Fountain hit a jumper and Zeeb a three while for Leverkusen, it was Jack making a trey and Kuczmann hitting a runner for the last field goal of the game. “We did a good job forcing them too turnovers while running our offense and finding our shooters”, added Isaac Bonga. “Being tired had nothing to do with our play. We did a good job scrambling and giving them problems. We had to comeback the whole game, but we shouldn´t have let it come to this in the first place”, stressed CJ Oldham. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Isaac Bonga with 30 points. Armin Trtovac added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Garai Zeeb had 14 points. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were led by Donovan Jack with 14 points and six rebounds. Ron Mvouika had 11 points and Michael Kuczmann added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 24% from outside and grabbed 36 rebounds and had 12 turnovers while the Bayer Giants Leverksuen shot 43% from the field and 32% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 20 turnovers.