5-Star shines anew, stuns Ol’Aces

5-Star Construction’s Ronnie Munar unloads a shot in front of Chinese Association slotman Chosen Zhang during an earlier game in the MIBF outdoor league at the San Antonio court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

5-Star Construction caught another big fish in Ol’Aces after posting an upset against the erstwhile leader, 80-75, in the second game in the Mariana Islands Basketball Federation’s Inaugural Men’s Outdoor League last Friday at the San Antonio court.

5-Star, which came from an 81-76 victory over the favored Saipan Apparel, stole the win from the Ol’Aces after working its way back from a 13-point deficit in the first half.

Down at halftime, 35-48, 5-Star moved within a point after the third period, 62-61, behind the combined 17 points of Michael Cabanas and Jestoni Pineda. Angelo Fernando then took the cudgels from Cabanas and Pineda in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points to complete 5-Star’s rally.

Cabanas dropped 9 of his 20 points in the third canto, while Pineda chipped in 8 to threaten the Ol’Aces. Fernando then finished off what his two teammates started, scoring 5-Star’s last 5 points, including three crucial free throws that sealed the win for his squad.

With the upset, 5-Star improved its record to 3-4 and boosted its playoff chances. Only the Top 8 teams after the round-robin play in the 11-squad field will move into the playoffs and 5-Star is now at the No. 7 spot ahead of the San Antonio Patriots (2-2), MGNEL Construction(2-5), Talaabwogh Stars (2-5), and the Chinese Association (0-6).

The Ol’Aces absorbed their second straight loss after a 5-0 surge and slid down to second place in the team standings behind Duenas Compound (5-1).

The Ol’Aces, who had their winning streak snapped by Ace Hardware, 82-72, seemed headed for the quick recovery despite missing the services of Freddie Pelisamen as they established a double-digit advantage against 5-Star at the break. Nak Nakashima lifted the Ol’Aces to the baker’s dozen lead after logging 12 points in the second quarter.

Earlier in the first period, Ol’Aces gunner Preston Basa was on target, firing two triples and adding a deuce to force a deadlock, 20-all. However, both Basa and Nakashima failed to keep their hot shooting in the second half, while Fernando, Cabanas, and Pineda teamed up to put 5-Star back in the game and pull off an upset against the heavily favored Ol’Aces.

Meanwhile, the outdoor league will return to action this Friday after last night’s matches were called off due to the bad weather. Monday’s games were also rescheduled to give way to Trick or Treat events on the island.

5-Star 80 – Fernando 22, Cabanas 20, Pineda 16, Cataluna 9, Munar 6, Hernaez 4, Estanislao 3.

Ol’Aces 75 – Nakashima 18, Lizama 14, Basa 14, Barcinas 13, Santos 6, Villacrusis 4, Palino 4, Sablan 2.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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