Maplas La Mani pulled off another thriller, slipping past LD Prime, 66-65, in the second game in Division B of the 2013 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Gerald Aniciete delivered the winning basket for LD Prime, making his first free throw with no time left on the clock. Aniciete trooped to the stripe after drawing a last second foul on LD Prime's Josh Fleming. He made the basket in the paint, but referee Dado Vistal did not count it, saying Fleming held Aniciete first and when the shot went in, time had already lapsed.
Despite the nullification of Aniciete's last-second shot, he still had a chance to win the match for Maplas in regulation when he was given two free throws, as LD Prime was already over the limit. With LD Prime players egging him to miss, Anicieto silenced his detractors, as his first free throw attempt hit nothing but net. With the win already secured, Aniciete intentionally missed the second charity with a wild throw.
Maplas, which also came from a close 86-84 win over Susupe last weekend, survived another tough match despite trailing by as many as 14 in the first half and facing a 4-point deficit, 61-65, in the last 1:13 of the match.
A Kenneth Quemado baseline jumper and Fleming's pair of free throws gave Susupe a shaky lead, which it eventually lost after committing three costly turnovers in the end.
The first error came from the backcourt off the inbound play with Ryan Odicta stealing a pass and driving strong to the basket to move Maplas within a basket, 63-65, 57.4 seconds remaining on the clock. The second miscue happened in front of LD Prime's bench with Dennis Morales intercepting Donnel Isip's pass to Chris Esteves. Morales then fed the streaking Dennis Cortez on a fastbreak play to tie the game anew, 65-all, 34 seconds left in the match.
Maplas had an opportunity to grab the lead when LD Prime faltered on its offensive set on the other end, but Morales instead of attacking the basket made a kick-out pass to Josephus Aguilar, who failed to catch the leather. LD Prime regained possession with 20.9 seconds left, but visibly had no planned play in the homestretch, as Isip opted to dribble the time out. Odicta then tried to steal the leather from Isip, who managed to elude his first defender, but not Maplas' help defense, as Morales picked the latter's pocket from the left sideline.
Morales went on to lead a fastbreak play and again issued a pass to Aguilar, who was begging for the ball, but faltered on his drive at the middle. Aguilar and Fleming then battled for the rebound, but neither won, as Aniciete was at the right place and right time picking up the loose ball. The Maplas forward still had his back turn against the basket when he plucked the leather and Fleming held on to him, trying to grab the ball.
With the sorry loss, LD Prime fell to a 0-4 record, while Maplas improved to a 2-1 slate.
Sexy Boys 74, Susupe 66
In the curtain raiser, the Sexy Boys also eked out a come-from-behind win to remain undefeated after three games.
The Sexy Boys fell by as much as 12 points in the first half and was still on a tight match after the third canto, 54-all, before pulling off the win with its good free throwing shooting in the end. The Sexy boys scored 5 of its 11 points from the foul line with John Larot making 4 of them and adding a field goal and Dax Tinio contributing two field goals and one charity. Tinio went on to top-score for the Sexy Boys with his 17 points, while Larot and Herbert Maranan chipped in 14 apiece.
Maranan was the only Sexy Boys player to score more than 2 points in the first period where his team faced a 12-22 deficit. The trio then worked together to bring the Sexy Boys back in the game, teaming up for 18 of the squad's 25 second quarter output and slicing Susupe's lead to five at the break, 35-40.
Toto Banatasa and J.R. Cadag paced Susupe in the second half, combining for more than half of the team's total production with their 24 markers. The duo continued to have a good shooting night in the second half, but failed to draw help from their teammates, allowing the Sexy Boys to grab the win in the fourth period. Susupe dropped to a 0-3 slate.
Sexy Boys 74 - Tinio 17, Maranan 14, Larot 14, Tangcoy 7, Santos 7, R. Deleon Guerrero 4, Sablan 4, Tumbaga 2, Daria 2, J. Deleon Guerrero 2.
Susupe 66 - Banatasa 22, Cadag 17, Mina 13, De Belen 6, Lansang 4, Llagas 4, Sevilla 2.
Scoring by quarters: 12-22, 35-40, 54-54, 74-66.
Maplas La Mani 66 - Crotez 23, Odicta 14, R. Usi 6, Morales 6, Aguilar 4, Aniciete 3.
LD Prime 65 - K. Quemado 14, Isip 11, Fleming 8, Lapuz 8, Esteves 6, Jugos 5, S. Quemado 4, Aldan 4.
Scoring by quarters: 15-25, 28-38, 43-51, 66-65.