QQ Rent A Car and SSFM built big leads early in the game en route to beating their respective opponents in the 2012 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League last Monday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
QQ walloped Pacific Stars/Gualo Rai (0-2) in the curtain raiser, 98-78, to improve to an even 1-1 record, while SSFM went 2-0, following an 80-58 trashing of Saipan TV (1-1) in the second tiff of the night.
Five early triples allowed QQ to create distance against Pacific Stars/Gualo Rai in the first period, which ended with the former ahead, 28-16. Rodney Catalla drilled four treys in the opening canto, while Ben Lisua made the other one, and QQ went on to can 13 shots from downtown to walk away with a 20-point winning margin.
QQ was consistent with its 3-point shooting, making at least two apiece in each quarter. Edwin Camacho dropped back-to-back triples in the second period and scored 8 of his 14 in that canto to keep QQ's dozen-point lead at the break, 54-42.
The advantage ballooned to as much as 25 in the second half, as only Alex Lauron and Zach Diaz hit baskets in succession for Pacific Stars/Gualo Rai, while Jun Estolas started to slow down in the fourth, as he was preparing for his second game in another league.
QQ, on the other hand, was still hot from beyond the arc, leisurely taking long shots, as Pacific Stars/Gualo Rai simply gave up early, not backing down on defense or challenging its foes' attempts.
Leo Apelo led five QQ players in double figures with his 20. Catalla chipped in 19, Lisua added 18, and Jerome Norita and Camacho contributed 17 and 14, respectively. Lauron had a game-high 22 markers, while Estolas and Diaz logged 20 and 16, respectively.
In the second game, SSFM capitalized on the absence of Saipan TV's key players in the first half and halted the latter's second half rally to take the 22-point victory.
Saipan TV played without Kelvin Fitial and Tim Wesley in the first half, as the duo suited up for a different team in another league and just arrived at Gualo Rai a few minutes before the second half started. Brandon Talania also did not start for Saipan TV and reported for the game only in the second quarter.
With Saipan TV having a depleted crew, SSFM raced to a 44-22 halftime lead. Rocyl Ritual led SSFM's early attack, making 10 points in the first half, while shooter John Darag came off the bench and fired 9 of the team's last 11 points in the second canto and finished with 12 in the opening half. Jack Lizama, Leo Galarse, and Don Brennan added at least 6 points apiece in the first half, as SSFM clearly dominated Saipan TV's second stringers on the offensive end.
Fitial and Wesley then started for Saipan TV in the third without warming up and teamed up with Talania, hoping to spark a rally. However, the closest that Saipan TV could get was within 14 points, 45-59, with 8:35 left in the fourth. Saipan TV was held to one field goal for more than five minutes after that, while Galarse anchored a short 9-2 rally to secure the win for SSFM.
Galarse and Lizama top-scored for SSFM with 16 markers apiece, while Ritual and Darag added 14 each. Talania had 13 to lead Saipan TV.
QQ Rent A Car 98 - Apelo 20, Catalla 19, Lisua 18, Norita 17, Camacho 14, Hambros 6, De Guzman 2.
Pacific Stars/Gualo Rai 78 - Lauron 22, Estolas 20, Diaz 16, Galzote 8, Dayrit 6, Mallari 2, Morales 2.
Scoring by quarters: 28-16, 54-42, 70-56, 98-78.
SSFM 80 - Lizama 16, Galarse 16, Ritual 14, Darag 14, Brennan 6, Dela Rosa 4, Guintu 2, Echavez 2, Tobias 2.
Saipan TV 58 - Talania 13, Alipio 11, Umali 9, Mariano 6, Anasan 4, Fitial 3, Culala 2, Rioduque 2, Wesley 2.
Scoring by quarters: 23-11, 44-23, 56-40, 80-58. (Saipan Tribune)