San Antonio bagged the second and final outright quarterfinals berth in the 2nd DL Corp. Invitational Basketball League, following an 83-59 demolition of San Roque last Saturday at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
The victory was fifth in as many games for San Antonio, which in second place behind Island Floral in Pool B. The two unbeaten teams will square off this week for the top spot in the group, but both are already assured of the two automatic quarterfinals tickets in their group.
San Roque also has one more game left and will need a victory to advance to the first round of the playoffs. San Roque has a 2-4 record for a tie for fifth to sixth place in the team standings with I Love Saipan. Only the No. 3 to No. 6 finisher in Pool B will make it to the first round of the playoffs and CJ Signs (4-2) and Natural Mystic (4-3) have secured the first two spots, leaving San Roque, I Love Saipan, and Island Manpower (2-5) to battle for the two remaining tickets. Maplas (0-7) is already out.
San Antonio denied San Roque an early entry to the first round of the playoffs after dominating their make-up game last weekend. The match was first set for Oct. 21, but was rescheduled due to rain. When the game finally kicked off, San Antonio quickly shifted to high gear and raced to a 28-14 lead. San Antonio never looked back from thereon, as its younger and faster crew proved to be too much for the veteran players of San Roque.
Mike Espinosa led four San Antonio players in double digits with his 16 points. Jack Aranda and Melvin Cadiang nailed 14 apiece, while Nevin Salem added 12. McLain Achas and Angelo Fernando were the only two double figure scorers for San Roque, making 25 and 19, respectively.
Adobo 66, Fliptop 65
In the other game last Saturday, defending champion Adobo escaped Fliptop.
Ichitaro Faisao lifted Adobo to the 1-point victory, drilling two crucial free throws in the closing seconds of the game. He trooped to the stripe after driving to the basket and getting a foul on Won Joo Jung.
After Faisao canned the important free throws, Fliptop was left with enough time (nine seconds) to make the game-winning basket, but Mike Babauta missed on his shot as time expired.
With the win, Adobo improved to a 3-3 record and kept its distance against Fliptop (2-4) and Kixx Engine Oil (2-4). These three teams along with Saipan Ice (3-3) are fighting for Pool A’s last two slots in the first round of the playoffs. Docomo (4-1) leads Pool A and is likely to be joined in the Round of 8 by Fong’s Bakery (4-2). Chinatown and NMI Contractor have similar 4-3 record and are on their way to making it to the first round of the playoffs.
Besides connecting the winning baskets for Adobo, Faisao also top-scored for his team, recording 29 points. Donnel Isip led Fliptop’s losing cause, firing 18.
Adobo 66 – Faisao 29, Saturno 8, Feria 7, Apelo 7, Vertudez 4, Palacios 4, Yap 3.
Fliptop 65 – Isip 18, Hockett 12, Jung 10, Babauta 8, Camacho 7.
Scoring by quarters: 18-12, 34-31, 55-47, 66-55.
San Antonio 83 – Espinosa 16, Aranda 14, Cadiang 14, Salem 12, Del Rosario 8, De Guzman 7, Caro 4.
San Roque 59 – Achas 25, Fernando 19, Odicta 3, Alipio 3, Manglona 3, Gapor 3, Pineda 2.
Scoring by quarters: 28-14, 42-29, 58-41, 83-59.