Armatech is one win away from sweeping the elimination round of the 2014 Tan Holdings Basketball Classic after crushing Kanoa Resort, 43-28, during their women’s division game last Saturday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.
Armatech now has a 9-0 record to remain on top of the six-team field. It will go for the sweep this Saturday when it takes cellar dweller Sun Palace, which is still winless with only two games left in the elimination round.
Lalaine Pagarao and Chevy Kate Alipio teamed up to keep Armatech’s perfect record, scoring 12 point apiece. Four other Armatech players made it to the board to dominate Kanoa, which had only three players scoring. Kelsey Lizama led Kanoa with her 13 markers, while Natasha Ngirausui and Rose Jones chipped in 8 and 7, respectively.
While Armatech eased past Kanoa, Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan had a tougher time against Shirley’s Coffee Shop before eking out a 45-43 victory.
Shirley’s was down by five, 38-43, with 1:50 on the clock, but managed to tie the match when Fiesta muffed several offensive sets, while Jeraldine Castillo drilled 5 straight markers off a triple and a fastbreak layup.
With the game even and Fiesta in danger of losing anew to Shirley’s, the former sued for time in the last 40.3 seconds of the exciting match. At the resumption of the neck-and-neck tiff, Jahnelle Francisco took care of business for Fiesta, as she attacked from the top key, stopped, and popped a banked shot just past the free throw line.
Shirley’s tried to get the two points back to even up the count anew, but muffed both shots with Dianne Pablo overshooting her target at the right baseline and Alexa Vergara missing a putback. Fiesta controlled the rebound after Vergara’s miss and ran the clock, which was down to 15.4 seconds. With the clocking ticking and Fiesta still on top, Shirley’s should have committed a preemptive foul, but elected not to, as it hoped to steal possession from the former and have the final shot.
Pablo did pick Jenny Lee’s pocket and the former tried to sprint to their frontcourt, but ran into Fiesta defenders at the sideline and lost possession. Fortunately, the ball touched a Fiesta player last before it rolled down. However, Fiesta was left with .9 of a second to put up for a decent shot and that was not enough as Pablo was pressured to throw a Hail Mary after the inbound play and the attempt was way too short, preserving Fiesta’s win.
Francisco top-scored for Fiesta with her 21 points, while Castillo paced Shirley’s with her 25 markers,
In the third game, IT&E walloped Sun Palace, 49-15.
IT&E led by 18 at halftime, 21-3, and was never threatened after that. Five IT&E players scored at least two baskets each in the first half to build a comfortable lead, while Shaina Abadilla drilled the lone field goal for Sun Palace and Marlene Lumabi added a split free throw.
IT&E improved its record to 5-3 for second place behind the unbeaten Armatech and the Top 2 teams will be joined in the semifinals by Fiesta (5-4) and Shirley’s (4-4). Kanoa (2-6) and Sun Palace (0-8) are already eliminated.
Fiesta 45–Francisco 21, Pena 7, Garon 6, Reyes 5, Bergosa 4, Lee 2.
Shirley’s 43–Castillo 25, Ito 10, Pablo 4, Ermitanio 2, Echavez 2.
Scoring by halves: 19-24, 45-43.
Armatech 43–Pagarao 12, Alipio 12, Castillo 6, Malasarte 4, Pangilinan 2, Palero 2.
Kanoa 28–Lizama 13, Ngirausui 8, Jones 7.
Scoring by halves: 16-8, 43-28.
IT&E 49–Manibusan 13, Travilla 11, Villagomez 10, Reyes 4, Deleon Guerrerp 4, Flores 3.
Sun Palace 15–Abadilla 9, Tamang 3, Francisco 2, Lumabi 1.
Scoring by halves: 21-3, 49-15.