The 670 Sonics and RT Law NMI Rollers arranged their title showdown in the boys U15 division of the 2018 Frank M. Diaz Memorial Youth League after prevailing in their respective semis games last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The No. 1 seed 670 Sonics avoided the upset axe of Bruce Almighty after playing steadier in the homestretch en route to a 48-42 win in the first semis match. In the second Final Four pairing, the RT Law NMI Rollers downed Saipan Vegas, 49-42, to earn the right to face the unbeaten 670 Sonics in tonight’s winner-take-all finale.
Tony Kim and John Rizo had 10 points each to lead the 670 Sonics in scoring with the former delivering three clutch baskets to save his team from the persistent Bruce Almighty. Kim made a putback with a little over three minutes left in the game to break the nth standoff in the closely fought match, 40-38. He then anticipated a cross pass from L.J. Reyes to Greg Deleon Guerrero and converted a fastbreak layup to give the 670 Sonics more breathing room, 42-28, down to the last 2:15 in the game.
A Deleon Guerrero drive moved Bruce Almighty within a deuce, but Bryan Bernardo countered with an incomplete 3-point play to bring the 670 Sonics’ lead back to 4. However, Bruce Almighty refused to give up and threatened the 670 Sonics anew when Keon Kabiriel knocked in a jumper. Bruce Almighty then had a chance to either take the lead with a triple or tie the match, but missed a couple of shots and also committed turnovers in the ensuing plays, while a second putback from Kim handed the 670 Sonics another 4-point cushion, with 43 seconds left on the clock.
Bruce Almighty faltered again on its offensive set, while the 670 Sonics also muffed its shot on the other end, but fortunately the ball hit one of the former’s player before going out to the baseline, giving the possession back to the latter.
Bruce Almighty sued for time with 24 second remaining in the game and was expected to give up a quick foul if it could not steal the ball off the inbound. However, the ploy did not materialize, as the 670 Sonics caught Bruce Almighty’s defense napping when John Caruano made the inbound from the baseline and spotted a cutting Stephen Bartolo for the easy two that upped their lead to 6.
A missed triple from Bruce Almighty sealed the doom for the team, while the 670 Sonics got the rebound and melted down the clock.
Meanwhile, in the second game, Allan Morilla drilled 10 of his 14 points in the second half to lift the RT Law NMI Rollers to the semis win. Ervin Villarin also finished in twin digits for the second finalist after adding 11 markers.
670 Sonics 48 — Rizo 10, Kim 10, Bartolo 7, Francisco 6, Galang 4, Puri 4, Bernardo 4, Aldan 3.
Bruce Almighty 42 — Deleon Guerrero 15, Reyes 6, Kabiriel 6, Menchor 4, Padayao 3, Kapwich 3, Saures 2.
Scoring by halves: 28-28, 48-42.
RT Law NMI Rollers 49 — Morilla 14, Villarin 11, Manglona 7, Cruz 6, Pangelinan 4, Tudela 4.
Saipan Vegas 42 — Ichihara 9, Lassaro 8, Deleon Guerrero 8, King 6, Francisco 4, Soriano 3, They 2, Laniyo 2.