Alberto’s Catering survived IT&E, 62-60, in the first round of the playoffs in the 2019 Civic Center Basketball League last Saturday in Susupe.
Elgene Mangali, Gerald Rivera, Frank Ferrer, and Jet Jandoc teamed up in the fourth quarter to thwart IT&E’s comeback bid and hand Alberto’s the first semis ticket in Group A. Mangali and Rivera scored 5 points each in the final canto with the former making three important free throws, while the latter knocked in a deuce and a triple. Ferrer also had a trey in the fourth period, while Jandoc contributed 2, as Alberto’s hung on in the end after squandering a double-digit lead.
Alberto’s was on top by 10 after the third period, 47-37, but was threatened in the fourth frame when Ivan Devero and Errol Peredo joined forces in bringing IT&E back into the game. Devero fired 9 of his 21 markers in the final period, while Peredo had 8 of his 18 in that canto. However, they were the only IT&E players to make more than 2 points in the pivotal fourth and their team failed to complete the rally to bid the tournament goodbye.
IT&E was paired against Alberto’s in the first round of the playoffs, as the former finished No. 7 in the round-robin regular season with a 2-5 record, while the latter was ranked second behind the unbeaten DC after taking a 5-2 slate.
Ferrer top-scored in Alberto’s playoff win with his 20 markers, while Mangali and Jandoc also had double figures with 15 and 12, respectively.
In other results, Lakay bagged the first semis berth in Group B after outclassing 911 Bar & Grill, 64-55.
It was a come-from-behind win for the No. 5 seed Lakay, thanks to the combined 16 points of Ronald Bernardo, Richard Mendoza, and Jun Alegre in the fourth period. The trio outgunned the entire 911 Bar & Grill in the fourth frame, as only Bernard Montano and Perry Inos scored for the losing squad. Montano tallied 5 points in the final canto, which started with 911 Bar & Grill ahead, 46-44, while Inos added 4. 911 Bar & Grill also led at the end of the first two quarters, 17-14, 30-25, before losing the driver’s seat in the fourth.
Mendoza delivered 18 points in Lakay’s upset over 911 Bar & Grill, while Bernardo contributed 16. Alegre had 9, with 8 of them coming in the second half. Inos recorded a game-high 28 points on a losing effort.
Meawhile, the first round of the playoffs continued last night with NMI Contractors scheduled to duel Loving Hands. NMI Contractors finished third in Group B with its 2-5 record, while Loving Hands was ranked No. 3 after posting a 5-2 mark.
Tomorrow, four more teams will start their playoff campaigns with Group A’s DC battling the Hoops (2-5) in the 6pm match and No. 6 Marianas Variety (2-5) challenging No. 3 The Game (4-3). Then on Saturday, the pairings will be No. 8 Team Batang (0-7) and No. 1 Real Deal (7-0) at 5:30pm and Saipan Vegas (3-3) and Brabu (3-4) at 7pm.