Kagman High School survived its opening assignment in the varsity division of the 2013-2014 Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization Boys Basketball League after edging Saipan Southern High School, 91-87, last Friday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
Jonathan Santos led the Ayuyus’ debut win, as he sizzled for 46 points and went 5-for-6 from the foul line in the closing seconds to help Kagman withstand Southern’s repeated comeback bids. Santos made his first two charities after Southern’s Jun Javier failed to complete an and-1 play that would have tied the match.
Down again by 3 points, 83-86, with 28.6 seconds left in the match, the Manta Rays refused to give up and got a quick basket from James Kintaro to threaten Kagman anew, 85-86. Southern then pressured the Ayuyus from the backcourt and almost forced an 8-second violation before Kagman quarterback Andrew Palino managed to get out of trouble and threw the ball over to Santos to their frontcourt. Southern was eventually forced to foul Santos anew and the Kagman shooting guard calmly sank and another pair for their 88-85 cushion, less 16.7 seconds left on the clock.
Southern sued for time and was expected to go for a game-tying triple once the game resumed. It did attempt a trey, but Tyler Palacios missed. Fortunately, Palacios drew contact from Santos, putting the former to the foul line for three crucial free throws, 6.7 seconds remaining in the game. The Rays guard drilled his first charity, but failed to get the shooter’s bounce on his second attempt. For his third and last shot, Southern was expecting Palacios to miss to have a chance for a rebound and game-tying basket. However, the shot went in, cutting Kagman’s lead to a hair, 87-88. With the clock winding down, Southern again fouled Santos, who this time split his charities for a shaky 89-87 lead. The Rays were then left with 1.7 seconds and no time out to orchestrate the last play, but Kintaro’s inbound pass to Palacios was way off with the ball heading to the right sideline in front of Southern’s bench. The Ayuyus got the ball back and Mel Sakisat, Jr. canned a short baseline jumper off the inbound play to peg the final score.
Kagman escaped with the 4-point win after wasting a 14-point margin in the third quarter. The Ayuyus tasted its biggest lead in the third, 71-57, after a 20-3 windup in the last five minutes of that period. Southern played catch up from the start as it faced an early 11-21 deficit at the end of the first period. Kagman built the double-digit spread behind the hot shooting of Santos and good ball movement.
The Manta Rays then mounted a comeback in the second quarter with Javier asserting his might in the paint. By the end of the first half, the match was back to square one, 38-all, and Southern even managed to take the lead in the third with Emerson Feria taking charge from Javier in the shaded lane. However, the Rays failed to keep their momentum, as coach Ed Guinto shuffled his men quickly, taking them out of their rhythm.
In contrast, Kagman stuck with Santos and its four other starters, making only limited, but timely substitutions. Coach Chris Tenorio’s ploy worked, as the Ayuyus turned on the heat midway in the third to gain cushion in the closely fought fourth canto.
Meanwhile, Kagman also had a tough win in the junior varsity game, eking out a 38-35 victory.
Mike Muna top-scored in Ayuyus’ victory, making 20 points. He nailed 4 of the squad’s 6 points in the fourth quarter, including two important free throws that iced it for Kagman. Muna also dropped team’s final 8 markers in the third period for their 32-26 advantage. Southern tried to recover behind the successive baskets of Harley Warren in the fourth, but Muna countered with rally halting free throws. Kagman got its last three points from the 15-foot line.
KHS 38 – Muna 20, Jones 10, Retan 3, Lampkin 3, Tenorio 2.
SSHS 35 – Warren 20, Anderson 6, Taitano 5, Kapileo 2, Bondoc 2.
Scoring by quarters: 7-9, 20-15, 32-26, 38-35.
KHS 91 – Jo. Santos 46, Lampkin 19, Sakisat 14, J. Santos 6, Salas 5, Evangelista 2.
SSHS 87 – Javier 22, Feria 19, Kintaro 12, Palacios 11, Raquero 8, A. Deleon Guerrero 5, Borromeo 4, Castro 3, J. Deleon Guerrero 2.
Scoring by quarters: 21-11, 38-38, 71-57, 91-87.