It was Docomo Pacific's time to show poise in the homestretch.
Docomo fought back from a double-digit deficit in the first half and outclassed Saipan TV in the fourth period en route to an 88-80 victory in the first game in the 2012 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League last Friday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
The win allowed Docomo (2-2) to recover from a sorry loss to SSFM last week when the former wasted a 13-point advantage and collapsed in the final two minutes to hand the latter the come-from-behind victory.
Against Saipan TV (2-2), it was Docomo's turn to play catch up after falling behind at the break, 37-47. Docomo managed to equalize in the third, 65-all, and then continued its uphill climb in the payoff canto for its eight-point win.
Docomo got 4 points apiece from four of its players in the fourth canto to outgun Saipan TV. George Cruz was one of the contributors for Docomo, making the team's last 4 points to seal the victory. Shane Metran, Rodney Sacramento, and Arthur Montes also added 4 markers apiece.
Saipan TV fell short in its bid to keep the lead and the victory at the end of the fourth, as it was held to only two field goals and two free throws last four minutes of the match. Jun Alipio drilled the last two field goals for Saipan TV. Tim Wesley, who had two early field foals in the fourth, and Mike Umali scored the two other points off their split charities.
The rest of Saipan TV players struggled with Kelvin Fitial, who had 10 markers after the third period, held to one field goal which he made in the opening minutes of the fourth. Allen Reyes, who had already logged 12 after the third canto, was also limited to 2 points, while Bernard Aquino was worse, adding only one free throw in the fourth to his 11 markers.
Alipio, Aquino, Reyes, and Wesley connected on at least two field goals apiece in the first period to lead Saipan TV to a 28-25 advantage. Docomo Pacific on the other hand leaned heavily on Elgene Mangali in the opening canto, as the shooting forward exploded for 16 points.
Mangali was then neutralized in the second period, as he nailed only one triple, while Reyes added 8 more markers and Fitial chipped in 6 for Saipan TV, which stretched its lead to 10 at halftime.
In the third period, Mangali regained his shooting touch, scoring 9 markers. He also drew help from his teammates to tie the match. The Docomo Pacific top scorer then went to silent mode anew in the fourth, but his supporting crew was there to save the day and complete the come-from-behind win.
Mangali still led all scorers with his 28 points, while George added 15, and Metran and Sacramento contributed 12 and 10, respectively. Alipio paced Saipan TV with his 21 markers.
Meanwhile, SSFM and QQ Rent A Car faced in the second game last Friday and results of the match will be reported in Saipan Tribue's Tuesday edition.
Docomo Pacific 88 - Mangali 28, Crus 15, Metran 12, Sacramento 10, Sison 8, Hernandez 6, Montes 6, Sanciango 4.
Saipan TV 80 - Alipio 21, Reyes 14, Wesley 13, Aquino 12, Fitial 12, Umali 1.
Scoring by quarters: 25-28, 37-47, 65-65, 88-80.