Ol’Aces top NMI Rollers in finale

The Ol’Aces’ Jerald Castillo takes off for a shot against the NMI/DYS Rollers’ Jun Fidelino during the third quarter of their title game in the boys U18 division of the Diaz youth caging last Wednesday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The Ol’Aces ruled the boys U18 division of the 2017 Francisco M. Diaz Memorial Youth League following an emphatic 62-45 victory against the NMI/DYS Rollers in their title match last Wednesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

The Ol’Aces gained cushion late in the second quarter and brought that momentum in the early goings of the third quarter to ease past the NMI/DYS Rollers in the winner-take-all finale. The title victory capped the Ol’Aces’ perfect run this season, as they swept the 11 games in the elimination and prevailed in three playoff matches to reign supreme in the division.

Ahead by only a point, 17-16, down to the last 2:45 of the second period, the Ol’Aces had an 11-3 windup to enter halftime with a 28-19 advantage. Coby Santos anchored the late surge, as he scored 7 straight points in that run off a triple, a pull-up jumper, and a layup, while Jeff Castro contributed a field goal and N-Nes Siech added two free throws. The NMI/DYS Rollers, on the other hand, got its 3 points from Warren Ellama’s drive and a split charity from Ian Mendoza.

The NMI/DYS Rollers continued to struggle in the third quarter, as it was rattled by the dreaded trapping defense of the Ol’Aces from the backcourt. The Ol’Aces then complemented their pressure defense with a fast-paced offense, resulting to another scoring spurt, 12-1, for the squad’s 41-20 lead at the 5:32 mark of the third frame.

NMI/DYS Rollers coach Joe Diaz pressed the panic bottom after the Ol’Aces’ advantage ballooned to 21, hoping to bring order back into his team. However, they had a little success, as the NMI/DYS Rollers just cut the deficit to 19 by the end of the third canto, 30-49.

The NMI/DYS Rollers then made one final push for a big comeback, as the Ol’Aces let their guards down a bit in the fourth quarter, but the best that the former could do was move within 10, 44-54, down to the last 2:57 of the title game. Actually, the NMI/DYS Rollers had several chances to bring the deficit to single digits, but they missed at least six attempts in its next three possessions.

A Santos banked in jumper from the right baseline off a kick-out pass from Castro and an Aiferson Atan running shot from the left baseline then sealed the deal for the Ol’Aces, as the squad went up, 58-44, with less than a minute left in the game.

Santos top-scored for the Ol’Aces with his 11 points, while Atan added 8. K.J. Kabiriel also chipped in 8 markers, while Dean Blake, Castro, and Jerald Castillo combined for 25 points in another balance show on the offensive end for the Ol’Aces.

Jun Alipio led the NMI/DYS Rollers’ losing cause with his 11 markers, while the rest of his teammates were held to no more than three field goals. The NMI/DYS Rollers failed to keep up with the Ol’Aces defense and offense as they clearly missed the presence of key players Dalton Dancoe and Angelo Factor. Dancoe is off to college in the mainland, while Factor is on vacation in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Natibu Warriors won the battle for third place against the 670 Sonics XVI, 50-35.

Rocco Garde had 12 points in the Warriors’ victory.

Finals Game
Ol’Aces 62 – Santos 11, Kabiriel 8, Atan 8, Blake 7, Castro 7, Siech 6, Castillo 5, Sablan 4, Bondoc 2, Manglona 2, Ngirarois 2.
NMI/DYS Rollers 45 – Alipio 11, Fidelino 7, Ellama 7, Abobo 6, Cobacha 6, Tengco 4, Kapwich 3, Mendoza 1.
Scoring by quarters: 8-9, 28-19, 49-30, 62-45.

Consolation Game
Natibu Warriors 50 – Garde 12, M. Aguon 8, H. Aguon 6, Kainoa 6, T. Sulap 4, R. Sulap 4, Omar 4, Fejeran 4, Malwelbug 2.
670 Sonics XVI 35 – Rafols 7, Sabangan 7, Kintaro 6, Ordona 4, Diaz 2, Magat 2, Apasan 2, De Guzman 2.
Scoring by quarters: 10-8, 26-17, 36-24, 50-35.

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Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for 16 years. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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