Public School System remained perfect after seven games following an 87-81 victory over visiting Tinian in the continuation of the 2004 Government Basketball League last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
PSS controlled the ballgame from the onset but Tinian never let the league-leaders outs of their sites.
With center Taj Van Buren and swingman Gary Lashley combining for 15 points, PSS took the first quarter, 20-17.
PSS and Tinian scored 18 points each in the second quarter, as both teams rested at the break with the same margin separating them, 38-35, still in favor of PSS.
Lashley then put on a one-man show in the third canto. The former CNMI national player hit from the outside and inside, totaling eight points, to help PSS gain some legroom, 64-56, heading into the fourth and final quarter.
PSS greeted the start of the payoff period with four straight points to establish their first double-digit lead. Tinian continued to grope for form and seemed out of it with four minutes to go in the contest.
But just when PSS thought Tinian would go away, Saipan’s southern neighbor came roaring back, as consecutive hits from the area of last resort put them within striking distance, 85-81, with time down to a minute and change on the game clock.
But in PSS’ final possession, Van Buren grabbed his own miss for a putback to seal the deal, as Tinian missed what seemed like a half dozen attempts from the 3-point line in the dying seconds.
Van Buren led all scorers with 25 points, while Lashley added 18 for PSS. Keith Nabors fired 17 in the loss for Tinian, with the big man showing a soft touch from the 3-point line with three trifectas. Peter Manglona and Rudy Borja also chipped in 16 apiece for Tinian.
On Friday, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and Department of Public Safety blew out league lightweights as they remained in striking distance of second-place Department of Labor.
DCCA had a balanced attack in walloping Office of Public Auditor, 103-62, in the first game, while DPS I leaned on their one-two punch of Elias Saralu and Joe Ito in routing Saipan Mayor’s Office, 89-63, in the second.
The government league resumes tonight with DOL taking on DPS I in the 6:30pm first game. The 8pm second game then pits Commonwealth Ports Authority against DPS II.
DCCA 103 – Pelisamen 22, Iginoef 21, Reyes 14, Dikito 13, Tenorio 11, Tudela 10, Pua 8.
OPA 62 – C. Camacho 14, F. Torres 13, D. Camacho 12, Dela Cruz 7, Pangelinan 6, R, Torres 5, Tomonakane 4.
Scoring by quarters: 21-16, 37-32, 71-44, 103-62.
Referees: Dado Vistal and Jess Pabula.
DPS I 89 – Saralu 28, Ito 22, Celes 14, Taitano 6, Quitugua 6, Manglona 5, Gilnateal 4, Farley 2, Kaipat 2.
Mayor’s Office 63 – Demapan 25, Tupas 10, Palacios 9, Taisacan 8, Mizutani 7, Borja 4.
Scoring by quarters: 22-13, 43-32, 71-39, 89-63.
Referees: Mike White and Noel Delos Santos.
PSS 87 – Van Buren 25, Lashley 18, P. Mendiola 9, F. Mendiola 8, White 8, Villagomez 6, Gross 4, Gomez 3, Blechner 2.
Tinian 81 – Nabors 17, Manglona 16, Borja 16, J. King 10, Manibusan 10, Santos 8, Pascua 4.
Scoring by quarters: 20-17, 38-35, 64-56, 87-81.
Referees: Dado Vistal and Noel Delos Santos.