Kagman finally had its first taste of victory last Friday, as it downed the Agape Torchbearers, 66-53, in the U20 division game in the 2012 Saipan Rotary Club Youth Basketball League at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Kagman dropped its first three games of the season before finding a way past the Torchbearers, who absorbed their fifth straight loss.
Anthony Malwelbug honed in on his range right away and bagged six points late in the opening period to help push Kagman in front, 16-9. He then added six more markers in the second quarter to extend Kagman's lead to double digits at intermission, 28-18.
Agape's Amus Ren and Joe Yang tallied 8 points apiece in the first half so lack of scoring was not the team's problem, but rather its inability to bring down rebounds or obstruct Kagman's second chance scoring opportunities.
Kagman won the battle of the boards even without center, Jason Lampkin, and rebounding played a key role in the outcome of the match.
On numerous occasions, Agape worked hard to get a basket to drop, only to get burned on the other end and when Kagman's guards failed to convert their fastbreak layups, Malwelbug was on the scene and did a great job handling the clean-up.
The Torchbearers' were inspired by the arrival of their mainstay, Allan Yu, in the second half and postured a possible comeback. Yu came out swinging in the third quarter and carried the Torchbearers' rally with his 11 points.
Agape clawed back to within a pair of possessions, 37-41, heading into the final period and tied the match just after the start of the fourth frame, but Kagman, now with Lampkin on the floor, continued to hog virtually every rebound in the payoff period.
Kagman's press defense also proved to be successful and a lot of its baskets began to drop late in the period, as the winning team had the ball for nearly the whole time. As ball possession woes continued for Agape in the fourth, Kagman's Jesse Santos came off the bench and scored 9 points to back up Malwelbug.
Yu and Yang teamed up for 14 points under duress, but the Torchbearers could not make enough stops on the other end to climb back into the match.
Malwelbug led Kagman with his 20 points, while Yu topped the box score with his 21.
Notably, Kagman's AJ Jones and Jonathan Santos each chipped in 10 points, while the Torchbearers' Yang provided most of Yu's support with the former's 16 markers.
Meanwhile, the unbeaten Sonics were gifted their fourth win after a no-show from Chalan Kanoa Saints (2-2).
Other standings include Rollers 2 (5-0), Mariana Resort's Proa (3-1), the Oleai Ol'Aces (2-2), RBC's Rollers 1 (2-2), LD Prime (2-4), and Hi-5 (1-3).
The season continues tomorrow at 5:30pm with the Ol'Aces taking on Kagman. The “no pay-no play” rule will still be in effect to motivate the last handful of teams in paying their outstanding balances.
Kagman 66 - Malwelbug 20, Jones 10, Jo. Santos 10, Je. Santos 9, Palino 8, Lampkin 4, Ebilane 2, A. Santos 2, Soriano 1.
Agape Torchbearers 53 - A. Yu 21, Yang 16, Ren 8, W. Yu 4, Chan 2, Ai 2, Li 2.
Scoring by quarters: 16-9, 28-18, 41-37, 66-53.