Maplas La Mani ended Sexy Boys' run in Division B of the DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League after pulling off a 54-51 victory last Monday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Maplas led from the opening tip and canned free throws in the homestretch to hand the Sexy Boys its first loss in six games. The win was Maplas' fourth in a row after dropping its debut against Gualo Rai, 65-66, early this month.
Mico Usi made no field goals in the entire game, but drilled four free throws in the final two minutes of the match to secure the win for Maplas. He scored all his 6 points from the foul line, including a split that gave Maplas insurance baskets in the last 1.2 seconds of the fourth quarter.
The Sexy Boys threatened Maplas when Herbert Maranan and Pat Tinio hit back-to-back triples with less than 20 second remaining on the clock, cutting the deficit that once stood at twin digits to a deuce, 53-51. After Tinio's triple, a split from Ryan Odicta gave Maplas the shaky 2-point lead and Usi had a chance to give the team more cushion when the Sexy Boys missed on the other end and was force to commit a preemptive foul.
Usi stepped from the line where he went 3-for-6 from his previous trips and had another split, as coach Rex Yabut instructed him to make the first one and intentionally muff the second to waste the time that eventually ran down as players from opposing camps battle for the rebound.
Dennis Cortez top-scored for Maplas with his 20 points, while Josephus Aguilar added 10. John Larot and Tinio had 15 each for the Sexy Boys, who got into early trouble when it was stuck to 6 points for about five minutes in the first period, allowing Maplas to take an 8-point lead, 14-6
Maplas remained in the driver's seat at the end of each quarter and though Maranan and Tinio teamed up for the Sexy Boys' late push, Usi was there to save the day for his team.
With the Sexy Boys bowing to Maplas, only Adobo (6-0) remained unbeaten in Division B.
Chinatown 61, LD Prime 53
Meanwhile, Chinatown is starting another win streak after suffering back-to-back losses, following its 8-point win over the slumping LD Prime (1-6).
Chinatown got its second victory and improved to a 5-3 record after prevailing in a low-scoring game.
Justin Zapanta reported for duty for Chinatown in the second half and top-scored for the squad with his 14 points. William Pua also finished in twin digits with his 12 markers, while Paul Quizon chipped in 9.
Quizon gave some life to Chinatown's lethargic start, scoring 5 in the first period that ended with LD Prime only behind by a hair, 12-13. Both teams continued to play a slow offense and Chinatown hung on to a 25-23 halftime edge. The lead increased to 4 at the end of the third, 38-34, with Joe Norita getting into his rhythm a bit, nailing 6 markers after a dismal 2-point production in the first half.
Zapanta added 2 points in the third period and then dropped 12 in the payoff canto to give Chinatown its fifth win.
Chinatown 61 - Zapanta 14, Pua 12, Quizon 9, Norita 8, Avila 8, Alokoa 4, Kimo 3, William 1.
LD Prime 53 - Esteves 13, Jugos 13, K. Quemado 10, Pena 8, Fleming 5, Toribio 2, Isip 2.
Scoring by quarters: 13-12, 25-23, 38-34, 61-53.
Maplas La Mani 54 - Cortez 20, Aguilar 10, Morales 7, M. Usi 6, Aniciete 6, Odicta 5.
Sexy Boys 51 - Larot 15, Tinio 15, Santos 8, Maranan 7, Tumbaga 2, Daria 2.
Scoring by quarters: 14-6, 26-21, 41-35, 54-51.