The U19 division of the 22nd Annual Saipan Rotary Club Youth Basketball League was down to the Final Four after the Rollers eliminated the Kagman Cougars, 72-41, last Tuesday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The Rollers joined the defending champions Sonics, Proa/ Mariana Resort, and pennant champion S.J. Ol’Aces to the semifinals. The S.J. Ol’Aces took the outright Final Four slot after topping the round-robin elimination, while the Sonics and Proa advanced following their 88-40 and 50-43 triumphs over the Rebelholics and Ol’Aces, respectively, in the first two playoff matches last Tuesday.
The Rollers and Kagman Cougars played in the final game last Tuesday and the former came out more prepared in the win-or-go home match. The Rollers went on an 8-0 start and never looked back, while Kagman was held to two field goals and struggled to find the right combination on the floor before totally losing its semis chances in the third period.
The third canto started with the Rollers ahead by only 9, 26-17, however Prince Factor anchored a pivotal 14-2 run to break the Cougars’ back, 40-19, going into the final two minutes of that frame. The Rollers went on to outgun the Cougars in the third period, 24-9, for a big 50-26 advantage.
Despite the huge lead, the Rollers was still relentless both on offense and defense, while the Cougars remained in disarray, making errors even on simple plays, like baseline inbounds.
C.J. Morales led the way for the Rollers with his 21 points, while Factor added 13, and the rest of the players on coach Joe Diaz’s roster all made it to the scoreboard.
John Santos paced Kagman with his 12 markers.
In the second game, Proa held the Ol’Aces to 9 points each in the second and third cantos to gain leverage and held on against the latter’s rally in the fourth.
On offense, Dixon Kwon sizzled for Proa in the first half, drilling 12 in the opening canto to lift his team to a 17-10 lead. Kwon made it a 13-point advantage at the break, 32-19, as he added 6 more markers. Proa kept the double-digit spread in the third, 42-28, as the Ol’Aces was limited to four field goals anew. The Ol’Aces then made one final push in the fourth, but Proa scored some rally-halting baskets to stay in control of the match and march into the Final Four.
Proa was scheduled to face the Sonics in last night’s second semis game or after the Final Four pairing between the Rollers and S.J. Ol’Aces.
Proa/Mariana Resort 50 – Kwon 25, Deleon Guerrero 8, Aguilar 7, Pamintuan 6, Hemley 2, Camacho 2.
Ol’Aces 43 – Nakashima 8, De Luna 7, Laniyo 6, Floresca 6, Kaipat 5, Darag 4, Cruz 2, Magofna 2, Faisao 2.
Scoring by quarters: 17-10, 32-19, 42-28, 50-43.
Rollers 72 – Morales 21, Factor 13, Arciaga 8, Aldan 6, Espinosa 6, Cayading 4, Pangelinan 4, Ano 2, Iglecias 2, Fidelino 2, Malonzo 2, Babauta.
Kagman Cougars 41 – Jo. Santos 12, Je Santos 7, Lampkin 5, Mettao 5, Palino 4, Malwelbug 1.
Scoring by quarters: 15-5, 26-17, 50-28, 72-41.