The Guam U17 national team beat CNMI 1 to continue its tear in the boys 17-and-under Micronesian Basketball Tournament yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The win was the third in as many games for the U.S. territory while dealing the de facto CNMI U17 national squad its first loss in three games.
The game actually began well for the local boys, as guard Nevin Salem and frontliners Christian Mizer and Jimmy Tudela together scored 14 points and CNMI 1 prevented Guam from its patented jackrabbit start and trailed only by two, 21-23.
That all changed in the second canto though, as Guam went to its dreaded full-court press that led to quick transition baskets.
To make matters worse, when CNMI 1 was able to slow down their opponents' fastbreak attack, the U.S. territory posted up 6'3” Michael Sakazaki who came away with 8 points in the quarter.
Guard Sammy Setik also attacked from long range and connected on a couple of 3-point bombs as Guam began to break away and opened up a daunting 51-28 deficit for CNMI 1 at intermission.
A halftime pep talk from coach Omar Ajoste and brief rest was not enough for CNMI 1 as Guam continued to throttle the home team at the start of the second half.
With Guam players sharing the ball and hitting the open man as opposed to CNMI 1 cagers going one-on-one, the visitors extended the lead to 77-48 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
The Mutt-and-Jeff combo of Setik and Sakazaki this time got help from high-leaping forward Rashaun Blas as the three scored all but seven of Guam's 26 points in the third.
CNMI 1 continued to play hard even with the insurmountable lead staring them in the face. Reserve forward Bryle Alegre joined hands with Salem and Tudela to chip away at the lead.
However, even with Guam's shock troopers in the game, the visitors still won the game going away.
Setik, whose twin brother Sam also saw action for Guam, led all players with 26 points, while Sakazaki and Blas added 24 and 16 markers, respectively.
CNMI 1 was paced by Jack Aranda with 11 points, while Tudela and Salem tallied 10 points apiece.
In yesterday's first game in the boys division, CNMI 2 got the better of Saipan 2, 52-46, with Karlo De Leon leading the way with 17 points.
Palau, meanwhile, vanquished Tinian, 83-70, in the game prior to the Guam-CNMI 1 tiff.
The results of the CNMI 2 vs. Tinian and CNMI 1 vs. Saipan 2 match-ups were still not available as of press time.
In Monday's second to the last game, CNMI 1 edged Palau, 91-78, behind the hot hands of Tudela who powered his way to 24 points. Aranda scored 19 in support. Palau was led by the 13 of Marvic Ngchar.
Monday's final game, meanwhile, saw Saipan 1 beat CNMI 2 with John Paulo Darag firing 21 markers. CNMI 2 was led by the 19 of De Leon.
Guam 108 - Sammy Setik 26, Sakazaki 24, Blas 16, Merrill 7, Flores 7, Oledan 7, Onedera 5, Taitano 4, Jose 4, Dimla 4, Sam Setik 4.
CNMI 1 66 - Aranda 11, Tudela 10, Salem 10, Mizer 9, Alegre 9, De Guzman 7, Aguilar 4, Hoffschneider 4, Feria 2,
Scoring by quarters: 23-21, 51-28, 77-48, 108-66.