I Love Saipan snapped its two-game losing skid, following an 87-77 win over Maplas in the curtain raiser in the 2nd DL Corp. Invitational Basketball League last Saturday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
I Love Saipan played better in the second half and leaned on Mike Olaitiman’s consistent scoring to bag its first victory in three games. Olaitiman had a team-high 30 points, making 13 of them in the fourth quarter to turn a 3-point lead at the end of the third to the 10-point winning margin.
Olaitiman also drew enough help from Gyles Ruluked, who contributed 17 points, and his four other teammates. Bryan Lontoc and Leonard Cristobal added 9 apiece, while Derrick Manglona and Bryan Mendoza tallied 7 each.
Christian Devero led all scorers with a season-high 41 points . He had a dozen right after the first period, which ended in a deadlock, 18-all, and continued to anchor Maplas’ offense in the second canto for their 45-42 halftime lead. Devero drilled 10 more points in the second frame.
Devero was still at it in the third period, but Olaitiman and Ruluked teamed up to counter his scoring and put I Love Saipan in the driver’s seat, 61-58. Ruluked nailed I Love Saipan’s first 5 points at the start of the second half, while Olaitiman picked up the slack past the halfway mark of the third and logged 7 markers
Olaitiman kept going in the fourth and his relentless effort rubbed off on his teammates, as five other I Love Saipan players also made it to the board in the payoff canto. I Love Saipan recorded 26 points, its biggest output in the single quarter, while Maplas had only 19 with bulk of its points still coming from Devero.
Meanwhile, Chinatown battled Fong’s Bakery in the second game last Saturday and results will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.
I Love Saipan 87 – Olaitiman 30, Ruluked 17, Lontoc 9, Cristobal 9, Manglona 7, Mendoza 7.
Maplas 77 – Devero 41, Mendoza 14, Lauron 8, M. Usi 6, Tenorio 4, Aniciete 2.
Scoring by quarters: 18-18, 42-45, 61-58, 87-77.