The Rollers Basketball Club's Holiday Hoops youth basketball tournament concludes with a championship triple feature among its U13, U15, and U21 divisions tonight at the Garapan Basketball Court.
Prior to the championship games, a U15 knockout match between Pogi and the Rollers will be played beginning 5:15pm to determine who will face top seed Kentucky Fried Chicken in the finals.
After the U15 semis match, U13 rivals Evolution and the Super Stars will take the floor at 5:45pm to kick off the championship series.
Then the U15 championship is set for 6:15pm followed by the U21 main ticket featuring top ranked It Don't Matter versus the Blazers.
Last Thursday, Evolution defeated the Super Stars in a nail-biter, 34-31, and though the former squad has held a slight edge leading up to the final standoff, a highly competitive battle is still expected between the age group's lone pair.
N-nes Siech carried the torch for Evolution in the opening frame with 10 points that helped provide a healthy 24-13 lead at halftime.
The Super Stars buckled up on defense after the break and held Evolution to just 10 points as a group in the second half, but came up just short of staking a comeback.
Siech's 14 points topped the field, while Manny Cobacha led the Super Stars with a dozen markers on the short end.
Then this past Saturday, U15's Rollers overwhelmed Pogi, 49-35; while in U21 play, Sluwee Poppin' Animals clipped the Blazers, 64-61; and It Don't Matter trampled the Lil' Rollers, 62-38.
The U15 Rollers trailed, 15-20, at the pause of its pairing as Pogi's Melvin Deocares, John Cano, and Sam Darag accounted for the group's output out of the gate. However, the Rollers' Taba Espinosa erupted in the payoff period, tallying a whopping 19 points en route to what turned out to be an easy win.
He finished with a game-high 23 points, while Darag fronted Pogi with 19.
U21's SP Animals clung to a 30-29 favor at the midpoint of its match thanks largely to its Big 3 in Ham Hambros-who led the crew with 12 points-Albert Bahillo, and Josh Lizama.
The Blazers' production came mainly from Luizi Reyes, Leo Galarse, and Luther Taylor, and though the duel went all the way down to the wire, the SP Animals hung tough in the late minutes to secure the victory.
Galarse and Taylor teamed up for a respectable 35 points, but in the end, it was not enough to overshadow a dual effort of 42 turned in by Hambros and Bahillo.
In the second U21 game, Ichitaro Faisao had the hot hand for It Don't Matter and rang in 15 points in the first half for a solid 35-22 advantage at intermission.
Teammates Shane Deleon Guerrero-Diaz and Rodney Sacramento chipped in 6 points apiece in the period and the group's defense secured the win in the closing frame.
Lil' Rollers Jun Fidelino scrambled for 10 points in the latter half, but only received support from one teammate, while It Don't Matter spread the ball around until everyone on the roster accounted for at least one basket.
U15's KFC and U21's Blazers punched their finals ticket after each pulling off comeback wins last Sunday. KFC upset the Rollers, 30-28, while the Blazers upended the Lil' Rollers, 52-49.
KFC trailed by a possession, 12-15, at the half of its match before toughening up on defense in the final period.
C.J. Morales headed the team from the tip with 9 points and the eventual victors limited the Rollers to just four field goals at crunch time.
Morales would later receive some welcome help on the offensive end as the group pressed on to victory.
He led all scorers with 15 points, while Rollers' Taba Espinosa managed 9 under duress.
The Blazers found themselves in a 14-25 hole at the midpoint of their game, but answered the bell in the second half as the Lil' Rollers elected to begin milking the clock with eight minutes left in regulation.
The questionable strategy may have caused the latter to lose its rhythm and perhaps at least some type of half court offensive scheme should have been implemented instead of merely playing keep away.
Notably, Lil' Rollers' C.J. Morales and center Rainer Deleon Guerrero each delivered 7 points in the first half, but the team neglected to feed its big man down the home stretch.
Such confusion and indecisiveness allowed the Blazers to weasel back into the game.
The Blazers swiftly locked the game at 43-all with just over five minutes left in regulation and had the momentum swinging its way from thereon.
Morales scurried for 11 markers in effort to keep the Lil' Rollers in range, but the Blazers' Luizi Reyes and Luther Taylor hooked up for 19 points to preserve the win.
Taylor and Leonard Sablan co-led the Blazers with 14 points apiece, while Lil' Rollers' Morales topped the box score with 18 in defeat.