NMI Contractor dethroned Adobo after posting a 69-58 win in the playoff opener in the 2nd DL Corp. Invitational Basketball League last Saturday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
NMI Contractor is now in the quarterfinals, joining early qualifiers Island Floral, San Antonio, Docomo Pacific, and Fong’s Bakery, and San Roque, which also survived the first round of the playoffs after downing Natural Mystic in the second game, 64-56. Two more Round of 8 berths are left and they will be contested by Saipan Ice & Water, I Love Saipan, CJ Signs, and Chinatown.
The fifth quarterfinals berth went to NMI Contractor, which saved its best for last to oust Adobo. Holding a precarious 44-43 lead at the end of the third canto, NMI Contractor scored 25 points in the fourth period en route to the 11-point win.
NMI Contractor nailed no more than 17 points in each of the first three quarters before pouring it all in the fourth to foil Adobo’s comeback bid. Trevor Ogumoro, who converted only one field goal in the first three quarters, showed up for NMI Contractor in the pivotal fourth, connecting on two triples and scoring 8 markers. Perry Inos and Leo Garalse added 7 and 5, respectively, and NMI Contractor got at least one field goal apiece from three other players.
Adobo, which won the inaugural DL Corp. caging after beating RadioCom in the finals, 77-67, was held to 15 points in the payoff canto with only Ichitaro Faisao canning more than one field goal for the team in the fourth.
Galarse top-scored for NMI Contractor with his 25 points, making 10 of them in the third to thwart Adobo’s repeated comeback bids. Inos and Don Brennan had 14 apiece, while Ogumoro finished with 11. Faisao paced Adobo with his 18 points, while Adrian Palacios was the only other player from the erstwhile champion to hit twin digits with his 10 markers.
Meanwhile, in the second playoff game, San Roque limited Natural Mystic to 4 points in the last 5:32 of the game to advance to the next round.
Before the breakdown, Natural Mystic forced a deadlock, 52-all, after Josh Sablan made a triple, and the team even took the lead momentarily, 54-52, off Tom Pangelinan’s drive, with over five minutes left in the game
An undergoal stab by Gil Gapor off a Ryan Odicta feed quickly tied the match, while Natural Mystic missed on the ensuing plays. Gapor got another basket to put San Roque back in the lead, which went up to 5 points in the last two minutes, 59-54, with Angelo Fernando escaping with a fastbreak layup and Odicta splitting his charities.
An Allison Kaipat layup sliced the deficit to 3 and Natural Mystic had a chance to move closer when San Roque took a hurried shot on the other end, but Sablan faltered on back-to-back attempts from downtown, while Fernando brought the lead back to 5 with another layup. Fernando went on to put the finishing touches in their playoff victory, going 3-for-4 from the foul line.
Fernando led all scorers with his 26 points, while Sablan had 18 for Natural Mystic.
NMI Contractor 69 – Galarse 25, Inos 14, Brennan 14, Ogumoro 11, Pantaleon 3, Buenabajo 2.
Adobo 58 – Faisao 18, Palacios 10, De Leon 8, Vertudez 5, Saturno 5, Jabier 4, Apelo 4, Yap 3.
Scoring by quarters: 14-12, 31-22, 44-43, 69-58.
San Roque 64 – Fernando 26, Alipio 10, Mc. Achas 8, Guiang 8, Gapor 8, Mi. Achas 3, Odicta 2.
Natural Mystic 56 – Sablan 18, Ulloa 13, Pangelinan 9, Kaipat 5, Guerrero 2, Cangco 2, Lisua 2, Reyes 1.
Scoring by quarters: 7-15, 24-21, 44-40, 64-56.