SSFM and Gualo Rai rallied past separate opponents to catch the last bus to the semifinal round of the 2013 DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League.
Gualo Rai eked out a 74-71 win over the Sexy Boys last Saturday at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court to nail the fourth and final semis berth in Division B. In Division A, SSFM also posted a come-from-behind victory over Saipan TV, 83-72, to advance to the Final Four.
Both Gualo Rai and SSFM are scheduled to play in the semis games tomorrow against Chinatown and QQ Car Rental, respectively. Pacific Star and Docomo were set to collide last night for the other semis pairing in Division A, right after the Adobo-Maplas Final Four tiff in Division B.
Down by as much as 16 points, SSFM stole the win from a stunned Saipan TV after outgunning the latter in the last 4:30 of the match, 17-4. Saipan TV, which started the second half with a 41-29 lead before settling for a standoff at the end of the third, 55-all, completely folded up after scoring only one field goal and going 2-for-5 from the stripe in the closing minutes of the game.
Saipan TV had its last taste of the lead at the 68-66 tally, before Bon Brennan and Jun Pantaleon hit back-to-back treys and Leo Galarse escaped with a fastbreak layup to give SSFM a 74-68 cushion, going into the last two minutes of the match.
Tim Wesley temporarily stopped the bleeding for Saipan TV, as he connected inside and also drew a foul, However, he missed the bonus shot and later went 1-for-2 from the foul line in their next offensive set, while Kelvin Fitial also had a split, pushing Saipan TV closer to the exit door.
While Saipan TV had to earn its points from the foul line, SSFM had no problems on their field goal shooting with Eric Dela Rosa closing out with two undergoal stabs and Brennan and Pantaleon adding one shot each at the paint.
Brennan paced SSFM with his 27 points, making 11 of them in the third quarter to spark the team's recovery. Four other SSFM finished in double digits with Pantaleon nailing 16 Galarse contributing 15, and Dela Rosa and Rocyl Ritual tallying 11 and 10, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the Division A playoffs, Marlon Ibanes scored only 7 points, but made 5 of them in the fourth, including a crucial trey that gave Gualo Rai the lead in the closing seconds of the match, 71-68. Prince Factor also contributed to the come-from-behind win with his early field goals in the fourth, while Justin Cayading and Joseph Galulu sealed the win with their baskets in the homestretch.
Gualo Rai managed to grab the win after recovering from a lethargic first quarter where it scored only 12 points.
John Larot matched Gualo Rai's output in the opening period to lift the Sexy Boys to a 20-12 advantage. The Sexy Boys kept the upper hand at the break, 37-33, with Herbert Maranan picking up where Larot left off, drilling 8 points in the second canto.
In the third quarter, Gualo Rai and the Sexy Boys traded baskets, allowing the latter to stay on top, 56-52. Then in the fourth, Factor, who was scoreless in the third, dropped 10 of his 23 markers with his fifth field goal tying the game at 68. Ibanez's trey broke the deadlock in the ensuing play after the Sexy Boys faltered on its offensive set, while Cayading made a 2-pointer, and Galulu split his charities to secure the win.
Gualo Rai 74 -Factor 23, Galulu 18, Yap 12, Ibanez 7, Dayrit 5, Cayading 4.
Sexy Boys 71 - Larot 18, Maranan 18, Tinio 12, Santos 8, Tangcoy 6, Daria 4, Sablan 3, R. Deleon Guerrero 2.
Scoring by quarters:12-20, 33-37, 52-56, 74-71.
SSFM 83 - Brennan 27, Pantaleon 16, Galarse 15, Dela Rosa 11, Ritual 10, Guintu 22, Tobias 2.
Saipan TV 72 - Talania 17, Wesley 15, Fitial 14, Alipio 9, Aquino 9, Reyes 4.
Scoring by quarters: 13-21, 29-41, 55-55, 83-72.