Kentucky Fried Chicken was one of the three champions crowned in the Rollers Basketball Club's Holiday Hoops Youth Basketball Tournament last Tuesday at the Garapan Basketball Court.
KFC clinched the U15 championship after defeating Pogi in the finals, 34-29.
The U15 finals saw KFC grinding out a shaky 16-15 halftime edge, thanks to a late three-pointer from Dicky Feria.
The title game was pretty even after the first half with Wilfredo Francisco pacing KFC with his 7 points and Pogi's Sam Darag duplicating the former's output.
Then in the second half, KFC's Art Borromeo heated up, connecting two shots from behind the arch and helping his team kept its distance against Pogi.
Borromeo's teammate CJ Morales only sunk one free throw in the game, but did a good quarterbacking job for KFC, keeping things in order for the eventual champion. Morales went on to claim the MVP award in the division, beating Darag and Garapan Boys & Girls' Mike Espinosa.
Darag and company arranged a finals tiff against KFC after Pogi downed Garapan Boys & Girls in the last semis game, 51-37.
Pogi managed a 20-17 lead at the half after converting three triples, two of which came from Alcor Admana. Admana had 8 points in opening half, matching the production of his partner in crime Darag.
Garapan accrued its offense in the first half off a more balanced attack, as it received contributions from seven players early on before its supporting cast faded in the second half. Espinosa scrambled for 15 points in the second half and did not received enough support to muster a late rally.
In contrast, Pogi's bench stepped up in the clutch, as Jun Fidelino and John Cano teamed up for a baker's dozen. Darag, Admana, and Fidelino all finished in double figures with the former making 16 and the last two adding 14 and 12, respectively.
Super Stars rule U13 division
In the U13 finale, Super Stars stood up Evolution, 24-20.
Evolution assumed control at the half, 13-9, off the coattails of Chioni Dela Cruz, who scored 6 points.
Down by four, the Super Stars awoke in the payoff period and mounted a nice comeback. Manny Cobacha led the recovery, posting 6 of his 13 markers in the second half, while Dela Cruz was held scoreless. Cobacha went on to take the MVP honors in the U13 division, as he collected 38 points in the tournament and edged Evolution's Ylac Caracut (11) and Angelo Factor (20) and teammate Chevy Alipio (25).
It Don't Matter tops U21
The U12 title match was another close game with It Don't Matter outlasting the feisty Blazers, 53-50.
It Don't Matter hung on to a 16-15 halftime lead after Ichitaro Faisao and Sheen Metran hooked up for a baker's dozen in that period.
Leo Galarse led the Blazers with a handful on the other end and did all he could to push his team over the hump at crunch time, but fell just short.
Shane Deleon Guerrero-Diaz arrived with the cavalry for It Don't Matter and delivered 11 markers in the second half stand, while Metran rang in a pair of treys for 9 more points for their title win. Lester Vertudez also helped It Don't Matter's cause, going 5-for-6 from the stripe in the homestretch. The three It Don't Matter stepped up in absence of Faisao, who twisted his ankle early in the second half and was not able to play again.
Metran turned in a team-high 16 points, while Galarse paced the Blazers with his 17 markers.
Deleon Guerrero-Diaz was selected division MVP after accumulating 45 points and beating Faisao (45), Leo Galarse (48), and Luizi Reyes (45).