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Armatech clinches women’s tiara

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Armatech showed poise in the homestretch to eke out a 44-42 win over IT&E and bag the women’s division championship in the 2014 Tan Holdings Basketball Classic last night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Armatech’s Irish Pagarao is in heavy traffic with three IT&E defenders ganging up on her during the third quarter of their title match in the women’s division of the 2014 Tan Holdings Basketball Classic last Saturday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Armatech’s Irish Pagarao is in heavy traffic with three IT&E defenders ganging up on her during the third quarter of their title match in the women’s division of the 2014 Tan Holdings Basketball Classic last Saturday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Rachel Abrams and Chevy Kate Alipio teamed up in a crucial play in the closing seconds, while Ka Wai Yiu canned a pair of free throws to hand Armatech the division crown and finish the tournament unbeaten in 12 games.

Clinging to a 40-39 advantage, with still 1:05 left in the game after IT&E’s Che Sablan picked Irish Pagarao’s pocket near midcourt and went all the way for a fastbreak layup, Abrams and Alipio saved the day for Armatech in the ensuing play.

Abrams, who spent majority of third period and half of the fourth on the bench due to foul trouble, allowing IT&E to stay in the game, received a pass from Pagarao inside the right shaded lane. She turned and tried to squeeze her way closer to the basket, but three IT&E defenders ganged up on her. Despite the tight situation she was into, Abrams kept her composure and spotted Alipio cutting baseline. With Abrams drawing three defenders, Alipio was left free for the layup that gave Armatech more breathing room, 42-39, 55.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

IT&E sued for time to talk things over, but failed to produce on two occasions with Jan Travilla missing her nth attempt from downtown and Kyla Ito going 0-for-2 from the stripe after her team got an offensive rebound and she was fouled on her way to the basket.

After Ito’s second miss, Pagarao managed to push the ball to their frontcourt and found Yiu running to the left wing for a fastbreak layup. Yiu, who came in for the fouled out Jeralyn Castillo in the last two minutes missed, hit the insurance free throws, banking her first attempt and the second hitting nothing but the bottom of the net.

Now down by 5 points, 44-39, with 21.4 seconds left on the clock, IT&E was pressured to go for 3-point shots. Travilla missed anew, along with Sablan, while Lily Williams drained IT&E’s third attempt from downtown at the buzzer to peg the final score.

Pagarao top-scored in Armatech’s title win, firing 21 points, while Abrams still finished in twin digits with her 10 despite being saddled by fouls.

With Abrams sitting on the bench for most parts of the third canto and Armatech committing so many turnovers, IT&E managed to fight back, turning a 20-29 halftime deficit to a 30-29 lead. Ito and Sablan nailed one triple apiece, while Travilla and Madeleine Alegre scored 2 points apiece in the 10-0 run in the first three and a half minutes of the third period.

However, that was the last time IT&E had the lead, as it was held to only two free throws in the remaining minutes of that third canto, while Armatech saved two field goals to regain the upper hand, 33-32.

Armatech then stretched the lead to 6, 40-34, with Pagarao drilling the team’s first 7 points in the fourth, while IT&E was still without a field goal for about 10 minutes bridging the third and fourth and was limited to two charities from Travilla. The score remained unchanged for more than two minutes before Ito converted a layup and Sablan split her charities, moving IT&E within 3, 37-40, 4:26 left on the clock.

Again, there was a lull in scoring in the next three minutes of the final canto before Sablan made a crucial steal and basket. Sablan stayed close to Pagarao near midcourt and the latter lost her dribble and tried to protect the ball using her body. However, Sablan reached in and managed to tap the ball, picking it up and sprinting for a fastbreak layup.

Sablan’s big defensive stop and basket, however, was countered by Alipio’s baseline shot and IT&E failed to retaliate as they muffed one triple after another in the ensuing plays, allowing Armatech to escape with the title win.

Meanwhile, results of the boys U19 finale between the Sonics and Rollers 1 will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday issue.

Armatech 44–Pagarao 21, Abrams 10, Alipio 7, Yiu 4, Castillo 2.

IT&E 42– Williams 10, Travilla 10, Sablan 9, Ito 7, Reyes 2, Villagomez 2, Alegre 2.

Scoring by quarters: 16-9, 29-20, 33-32, 42-40.

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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