Hoops overcame a nine-point deficit at halftime to pull off a 45-40 win over Konflikt-Hip Hop Thunder during a playoff game in the 18A Summer Jam Friendly Basketball Tournament last Saturday at the Garapan Basketball Court.
The victory put the Hoops a win away from facing top-ranked Mobil in this weekend's winner-take-all finals scheduled for 7pm. Konflikt dropped to the loser's bracket and will face Wanna-Be's, who eliminated Blue Haus, in the first game last Saturday, 70-53, for the right to duel the Hoops for the second and last finals seat.
Konflikt erected a promising 26-17 lead at halftime off the coattails of Ivan Devero, who delivered 10 points in the opening frame. However, Hoops bit down on defense after the intermission and controlled the battle for the boards.
Hoops, who nailed a couple of three-pointers in the first half to stay within range, then turned to its transition offense to fuel a big push at crunch time. Kelvin Fitial made an impact on both ends of the court, as he tallied nine markers in the second half, while Dexter Tenorio also made a couple of clutch shots.
Trevor Ogumoro also helped out the Hoops' cause with his team-high 13 points. Devero managed a dozen on the short end, but was held to just a pair of free throws in the closing period and no one else came to fill the void.
In the first game, Wanna-Be's Pete Lizama held the hot hand out of the gate, draining three long range shots to lift his team to a 32-22 halftime advantage.
The fire spread in the second frame, as Lizama and his teammates buried five more treys, discouraging Blue Haus from launching any comeback attempts. Syl Teregeyo delivered 10 big points in the second half for Wann-Be's, while Jack Lizama sprinkled 16 through the entire match.
In the end, Pete Lizama led Wanne-Be's with his 19 points, while Blue Haus' Badong Camacho muscled his way for 16 markers in the defeat.
Wanna-Be's 70 - P. Lizama 19, J. Lizama 16, Teregeyo 13, Mendiola 8, Chan 8, Hernandez 6.
Blue Haus 53 - B. Camacho 16, Buenabajo 8, Quan 8, Olivos 6, Peredo 6, Capalad 5, Pantaleon 2, Galulu 2.
Scoring by halves: 32-22, 70-53
Hoops 45 - Ogumoro 13, Fitial 11, E. Camacho 6, Tenorio 5, Babauta 3, Hossain 2, Lisua 2, Litulumar 2.
Konflikt-Hip Hop Thunder 40 - Devero 12, N. Mateo 9, Barbo 8, D. Mateo 4, Castro 2, Talania 2, Tumaquip 2.
Scoring by halves: 17-26, 45-40.