Ace Hardware nips Patriots


Ace Hardware’s Alex Lauron, left, pulls up for a short jumper against the outstretched arms of the San Antonio Patriots’ Melvin Cadiang, center, while Jester Kintaro looks on during the fourth quarter of their game in the MIBF outdoor caging last Wednesday at the San Antonio court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Ace Hardware escaped with a 66-65 victory against the San Antonio Patriots in the second game in the Mariana Islands Basketball Federation’s Inaugural Men’s Outdoor League last Wednesday night at the San Antonio court.

Alex Lauron hit the winning basket in the closing seconds, giving Ace Hardware a 3-0 record and a share of the lead with Duenas Compound and the Ol’Aces. The Patriots lost another tight match and have only one victory to show after three games.

The Patriots could’ve gained their second triumph and recover from their 59-62 loss to Saipan Apparel if not for their free throw woes in the last two minutes of the match. The Patriots went 1-for-6 from the foul line with Leo Galarse going 1-for-4 and Jack Aranda shooting 0-for-2.

Before his free throw misses, Galarse earlier knocked in a triple that gave Patriots a 64-62 advantage, 1:38 left on the clock. Ace Hardware botched its offensive set on the other end, while Galarse was fouled in the ensuing play. The former Saipan Southern High School standout muffed both charities, but got the ball back in the battle for the long rebound and was fouled anew. He had a split, making his first free throw to hand the Patriots a 65-62 advantage, with 1:10 remaining in the game.

Ace Hardware and the Patriots then traded misses in a couple of plays before Ken Viray drilled a point-blanked basket off Brady Hammond’s wayward shot to cut the deficit to 1, 64-65, 14 seconds to go.

The Patriots sued for time and when the game resumed, Ace Hardware’s Sid Quan gave up a preemptive foul on Aranda. The Patriots shooting guard trooped to the stripe with eight seconds left on the clock and missed both charities. Hammond collared the rebound and quickly passed the ball to Viray, who then swung the leather to Lauron.

Lauron, with the clock, ticking down drove strong to the basket and nearly fumbled when Melvin Cadiang reached in for the steal. Lauron went on to keep the possession and banked in a layup that put Ace Hardware on top, 66-65, with a second remaining in the match.

Again, the Patriots called a timeout and were pressed to go for a catch-and-shoot play. Aranda did the inbound and took some time before he released the ball as he had Hammond’s long arms in front of him. Finally, Galarse received the inbound pass from the right sideline and took a long heave, which hit nothing but air, preserving Ace Hardware’s precarious lead and win.

Viray top-scored for Ace Hardware with his 15 points, while Quan chipped in 11. Galarse, Aranda, and Jaymark De Guzman had 14 apiece to lead the Patriots.

In the first game, 5-Star Construction outclassed the Talaabwogh Stars, 84-79.

5-Star (2-2) finished strong to steal the win from the Talaabwogh Stars (0-4), which entered the fourth period with a 58-52 advantage. 5-Star slowly worked its way back into the game and stole the lead, thanks to the combined efforts of Michael Cabanas, Angelo Fernando, and Jeff Munar. Cabanas had 11 of his 20 points in the final frame, while Fernando contributed 9, and Munar drilled 7 of his 10 in the payoff canto. Fernando ended up with a team-high 22 points, while Jestoni Pineda was the other double-figure scorer for 5-Star, logging 20, 5 of them came in the fourth, including three clutch free throws.

Joseph Lifoifoi Jr. had 28 points on a losing effort for the Talaabwogh Stars, while Henry Aguon registered 26. They were the only players on their team to score in twin digits, while the next best scorer on the squad, Rahwo Sulap, recorded just 6 points.

First Game
5-Star Construction 83 — Fernando 22, Pineda 20, Cabanas 20, Munar 10, Hernaez 3, Estanislaco 3, Macahito 2, Penalba 2.

Talaabwogh Stars 79 — H. Aguon 26, J. Lifoifoi 23, Sulap 6, F. Lifoifoi 5, Sunumai 4, Arthur 3, M. Aguon 2, Evangelista 2.

Scoring by quarters: 19-17, 34-41, 52-58, 84-79.

Second Game
Ace Hardware 66 — Viray 15, Quan 11, B. Sablan 8, Brennan 6, Hammond 7, J. Sablan 5, Evans 4, Lauron 3, Babauta 2, Camacho 2, Younis 2, Rabauliman 1.

San Antonio Patriots 65 — De Guzman 14, Galarse 14, Aranda 14, Deleon Guerrero 7, Cadiang 7, Kintaro 6, Flores 3.

Scoring by quarters: 22-18, 37-37, 50-48, 66-65.

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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