Joel edges Hagai; Jonah tops Nahum

Jonah’s Jethro Cruz throws up a shot against two Nahum defenders during their first round game in the youth division of the Genesis Cup. Cruz scored 27 points in their 87-74 win over Hagai last Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Joel and Jonah gained contrasting wins in the youth division of the Genesis Cup Christian Churches Inter-Color Basketball League to remain in the Top 2 of the team standings after last Thursday’s pair of matches at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

In the first game, Joel rallied past Hagai, 70-68, while in the second match, Jonah dominated Nahum, 87-74. Joel is ahead of the five-team field with its 6-1 record and will try to seal the No. 1 spot in the standings with a victory against Nahum (1-6) tomorrow in the first game. Jonah, on the other hand, finished the round-robin elimination with a 6-2 card.

Joel overhauled a 12-point deficit at the start of the second half to steal the victory from Hagai, which has yet to win this season and will have its last chance to avoid being shutdown in the tournament when it plays Ezra tomorrow in the final game of the elimination.

Hagai had the opportunity to break into the win column when it led, 38-26, at the break , as Wyn Brillo dropped 16 of his 25 points in the first half.

However, Brillo and Hagai failed to keep its momentum in the second half, while Andrew Palino brought Joel back into the game in the final 20 minutes of play. Palino, who had 10 points in the first frame, played better in the second, nailing 21 markers, including four of the team’s last seven field goals.

Palino also drew enough support from Jordan Ocaya and J.P, Cruz in the second half to turn the tables on Hagai. Ocaya made 10 of his 14 markers in the final half, while Cruz had 8 of his 9 in that period.

In the second half, Jonah was on target right at the get-go en route to the 13-point winning margin.

Sam Darag, who had 39 points in their 77-55 trashing of Haggai last Tuesday, led Jonah anew, firing 37. Jethro Cruz added 27 in his last game for Jonah before leaving for Palau to play with the CNMI Junior National Team in the 2016 Micronesian Basketball U17 Tournament.

Cruz and Darag alternately burned the hoops for Jonah, lifting their squad to a promising 56-38 halftime edge. Jonah never looked back from thereon, as Darag and Cruz continued to make successive baskets in the second half.

First Game
Joel 70 — Palino 31, Ocaya 14, Cruz 9, De Leon 5, Elchico 4, Ibanez 4, Ocanada 2.
Hagai 68 — Brillo 25, Wang 12, Gonzales 10, Alonzo 8, Chen 5, Xu 4, Del Carmen 4.
Scoring by halves: 26-38, 70-68.

Second Game
Jonah 87 — Darag 37, Cruz 27, Ponce 8, Cabrera 6, Bordon 5, Marcellana 4.
Nahum 74 — Cobacha 25, Chen 16, Cai 12, Sacdalan 12, Wang 3, Tenorio 2, Magno 2.
Scoring by halves:
56-38, 87-74.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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