The S.J. Ol’Aces finished the regular season of the 22nd Annual Saipan Rotary Club Youth Basketball League with an immaculate record.
The S.J. Ol’Aces earned a 7-0 record in the round-robin U19 division of the youth league, following a 71-40 victory over the Rebelholics last Friday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. With the sweep, the S.J. Ol’Aces is seeded first in the single-elimination playoffs and got the automatic semis ticket.
A 23-6 start boosted the S.J. Ol’Aces’ bid for a perfect record. It also held the Rebelholics to 6 points in the second canto to widen the gap further, 40-12. The Rebelholics picked up its scoring in the second half, but the S.J. Ol’Aces had already built enough cushion in the first 20 minutes of play en route to the 31-point win. The S.J. Ol’Aces posted the big winning margin despite missing several Tinian players, who failed to fly to Saipan due to the bad weather. Only Darius Pettis managed to arrive on Saipan for the match and he came in late in the third when the game was already in the bag for the S.J. Ol’Aces.
Stepping up in absence of Tinian players was Michael San Nicolas, who cherry-picked in the paint and scored a game-high 24 points. Kobee Mendoza and Chris Mizer contributed 12 points apiece, while Kevin De Leon also finished in twin digits with his 10.
Michael Cenir led the Rebelholics with his 12 markers, while Wilfredo Francisco chipped in 10.
In the other game in the final day of the regular season, the Ol’Aces crushed the Warriors, 72-39.
The Ol’Aces turned on the heat in the second half to finish the regular season with a 2-5 record and deny the Warriors entry to the win column and the playoff round.
Ahead by only 7 at the break, 27-20, the Ol’Aces drew points from every player it field in the game and held the Warriors to three field goals in the third period for a 45-30 lead. The Ol’Aces then saved the best for last, outscoring the Warriors in the fourth, 27-10, for the 33-point winning margin.
The Ol’Aces is ranked sixth in the playoffs and will face the No. 5 pick Rollers (4-3) in the first round of the playoffs tomorrow at 5:30pm with the winner challenging the S.J. Ol’Aces in the first semis game on Wednesday at 5:30pm.
In other playoff schedules, No. 2 finishers and defending champions Sonics (6-1) square off against the Rebelholics (1-6) today at 6pm, while the No. 3 Proa/Mariana Resort (5-2) takes on the No. 4 Kagman Cougars (4-3) in the second match tonight at 7pm. Winners of tonight’s playoff matches in the U19 division will battle for the second and last finals ticket on Wednesday at 6:30pm. The one-game division finals will be played this Friday at 6:30pm.
S.J. Ol Aces 71 – San Nicolas 24, Mendoza 12, Mizer 12, De Leon 10, Camacho 8, Olopai 4, Pettis 2.
Rebelholics 40 – Cenir 12, Francisco 10, Rios 6, Vivero 4, Ellama 4, Iba 4, Sagun 2.
Scoring by quarters: 23-6, 40-12, 47-28, 71-40.
Ol’Aces 72 – Cruz 12, Kaipat 11, Darag 9, Floresca 8, De Luna 6, Olopai 6, Faisao 4, Magofna 2, Moses 2.
COPSSA Warriors 39 – Yap 13, Omori 11, Cepeda 10, Feria 3, Po 1.
Scoring by quarters: 15-12, 27-20, 45-30, 72-39.