I Love Saipan secured the last quarterfinals berth in the 2nd DL Corp. Invitational Basketball League after outlasting CJ Signs, 79-75, last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
I Love Saipan withstood CJ Signs’ repeated rallies to eke out the 4-point win and eliminate the latter. CJ Signs fell behind early in the game and moved within one and two points on several occasions, but simply could not overtake I Love Saipan after committing errors and missing free throws in the homestretch.
CJ Signs at one point past the halfway mark of the fourth faced a 10-point deficit, 61-71, but sliced it to 5 points, 66-71, and had a chance to move closer, but Albert Salas did not anticipate Ralph Francisco’s pass and lost the leather to Mike Olaitiman. I Love Saipan went on to hit four free throws in the their next possessions, courtesy of Leonardo Cristobal and Olaitiman, but CJ Signs refused to give up with a short 6-run to stay in the game, 76-62, with less than a minute left in the match.
A missed offensive set from I Love Saipan returned the leather to CJ Signs, which also failed to score with Prince Factor muffing two free throws. I Love Saipan then controlled the rebound with Olaitiman on the finishing end, making a layup and giving his team a 78-72 lead.
Down by 6, CJ Signs was pressured to attempt for a triple and Herbert Maranan obliged, but missed. Fortunately he was fouled, but he made only one free throw and though he canned a layup off a steal from the backcourt in the closing seconds, Olaitiman sealed I Love Saipan’s upset with a split free throw.
Olaitiman top-scored for the sixth-ranked I Love Saipan with his 23 points and had more than 10 assists, which benefitted Bryan Lontoc the most, as the latter also finished in twin digits with 14, matching Cristobal’s output. Gyles Ruluked also had double figures with his 21. Factor led the third-seeded CJ Signs with his 20 markers.
Chinatown 76, Saipan Ice 62
In the other playoff game last Wednesday, Chinatown also showed poise in the fourth quarter to notch the seventh quarterfinals ticket and oust Saipan Ice & Water.
On top by only 4 points at the end of the third canto, 53-49, Chinatown leaned on its balance offense to outgun Saipan Ice in the final period, 23-13, en route to a double-digit winning margin. Four players scored at least two field goals each for Chinatown in the fourth quarter, while only Derrick Rangamar drilled more than two markers for Saipan Ice in the payoff frame.
Shane Deleon Guerrero knocked down 7 of his 15 points in the last 10 minutes of play, while Tony Fleming, Pete Lizama, and Vince Iglecias chipped in 4 points apiece. Rangamar had 8 points for Saipan Ice, which got its two other field goal from Nokki Saralu and Francisco Serrano (triple) late in the fourth.
With the victory, Chinatown will play Pool B top-ranked Island Floral in the third quarterfinals game tomorrow at 6:30pm. In the second game at 8pm, San Antonio will take on NMI Contractor. The two other quarterfinals pairings that will be played tonight will have Docomo facing San Roque at 6:30pm and Fong’s Bakery battling I Love Saipan at 8pm.
Chinatown 76 – Deleon Guerrero 15, Sacramento 13, Iglecias 12, Lizama 12, Fleming 6, Kwon 6, Hemley 5, Zapanta 5, Dela Cruz 2, Quizon 1.
Saipan Ice & Water 62 – Rangamar 14, N. Saralu 12, Villanueva 8, Cayading 7, Kaipat 7, Serrano 2, R. Saralu 6.
Scoring by quarters: 18-14, 37-33, 53-49, 76-62.
I Love Saipan 79 – Olaitiman 23, Ruluked 21, Cristobal 14, Lontoc 14, Manglona 3, Mendoza 2, Rabago 2.
CJ Signs 75 – Factor 20, Maranan 16, Francisco 16, Salas 13, Litulumar 4, Dela Rosa 2, Buenavista 2.
Scoring by quarters: 24-14, 41-37, 63-57, 79-75.