Top 2 seeds deliver in playoffs

SSFM’s Andrew Palino, center, sneaks his way through the defense of JSN/Cell Pro’s Preston Basa, left, during the first quarter of their playoff game in the San Antonio summer caging last Friday at the San Antonio court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Ali’i Blue Haus and SSFM lived up to high expectations after eliminating their playoff foes in the 2017 San Antonio Summer Basketball League last Friday night at the San Antonio court.

The top-ranked Ali’i BlueHaus clobbered last qualifier United Ballers in the curtain-raiser, 91-70, while No. 2 seed SSFM outclassed No. 7 JSN/Cell Pro in the second match, 80-73, to join Arianne Fish Mart and Cuadro PS in the semifinals.

The regular season first place finisher Ali’i Blue Haus eased past United Ballers, as it dominated the playoff match right from the get-go. Brendon Talania scored 9 in the first quarter to power Ali’i Blue Haus to a 31-19 advantage at the end of that period.

Ali’i Blue Haus went on to increase its lead in the succeeding frames, as the team had too many options on offense and the players’ familiarity with each other’s game gave the squad more open looks at the basket.

Bart Demapan top-scored for Ali’i Blue Haus with his 18 points, while four of his teammates also logged double figures. Elmer Esdrelon and Lerio Pagarao added 14 each and Talania and Errol Peredo contributed 11 and 10, respectively.

Rico Ibag led United Ballers with his 19 markers.

In the second game, the backcourt tandem of Dan Barcinas and Andrew Palino did most of the damage for SSFM as they combined for more than half of the squad’s total points to beat JSN/Cell Pro. Barcinas registered 23 points, while Palino chipped in 22. Andrew Ashburn and Leo Galarse backed up SSFM’s guards as they teamed up for 23 more markers.

Barcinas and Palino anchored SSFM’s strong showing in the second half, which started with the opposing teams in a deadlock, 37-37. They made 16 of the squad’s 28 points in the third canto to hand SSFM a double-digit spread, 65-54. SSFM then kept the upper hand in the fourth quarter with Palino and Barcinas still at it and drawing support from Ashburn and Galarse.

With the victory, SSFM set up a semis duel against Cuadro PS, while the other Final Four pairing had Ali’i Blue Haus meeting Arianne Fish Mart. The two semis games were played last night, but results were unavailable at press time.

First Game
Ali’i Blue Haus 91 – Demapan 18, Esdrelon 14, Pagarao 14, Talania 11, Peredo 10, Barbo 7, De Dios 5, Guiab, 4, Tumaquip 4, Berline 4.
United Ballers 70 – Ibag 19, Fabian 11, Atencio 10, Fernandez 8, Aldeguer 6, Marion 4, Sabiniano 4Scoring by quarters: 31-19, 55-34, 76-56, 91-70.

Second Game
SSFM 80 – Barcinas 23, Palino 22, Ashburn 15, Leo Galarse 8, Libuw 4, Babauta 3, Santos 2, Pantaleon 2, Dancel 2.
JSN/Cell Pro 73 – Basa 21, Teregeyo 12, Andrew 10, Norita 9, Escano 8, Lisua 7, Lizama 5, Bisana 1.
Scoring by quarters: 17-21, 37-37, 65-54, 80-73.

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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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