The stage is set for DFS Galleria and PSS/McGraw-Hill’s championship showdown in the 3rd Annual Shirley’s Coffee Shop Invitational Basketball League, following their separate semis wins last Thursday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.
DFS and PSS mapped put an effective game plan to outclass their separate foes and advanced to the winner-take-all finale tomorrow at 7pm. DFS used its fastbreak plays to breeze past Mobil, 109-86, while PSS put up a pressure defense early on en route to an 88-74 triumph over Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Pete Iguel anchored DFS’ fastbreak attack at the start of the match, scoring 11 points, while Dan Barcinas, Junar Guiab, and Jack Lizama had their share in the team’s fast-paced game for an early double-digit lead, 30-19. Mobil fell behind by double digits in the first quarter with only Jun Estolas active on offense with 13 markers.
Estolas continued to carry Mobil on his shoulders and his efforts were rewarded, as they took the lead at halftime, 47-46.
DFS lost the lead in the second period when only Iguel scored more than one field goal, but was held to only five points. Iguel then stepped on the pedal anew in the third, sizzling for 13 points to bring DFS back into the driver’s seat, 77-70. Mobil played flat again in the third and was badly hurt by Estolas’ one-point production in that canto.
DFS then pulled away in the last four minutes of the game, scoring on fastbreak plays in succession. DFS was ahead by only 10, 94-84, with 4:01 left on the clock, when Mobil started missing and forcing shots. In contrast, DFS played tough defense and at one point in the closing minutes of the match made four straight fastbreak layups. Johnson and Lizama had one each, while Iguel drained fastbreak layups, giving DFS a commanding 102-84 advantage, 1:49 left on the clock.
Mobil missed another shot and in DFS’ ensuing play, Jorge De Guzman gave up a frustration foul, pushing off a posting Guiab. The infraction did not end there, as De Guzman attempted to kick referee Toto Banatasa, who turned away from the baseline play to report the foul to the scorers’ table. At first, De Guzman seemed to be toying around with Banatasa, but it was too late, as his left knee hit the latter on the legs. De Guzman was called for a technical foul with Guiab splitting the two free charities and later making an uncontested undergoal stab off Gabriel White’s feed to put the final nail on Mobil’s coffin.
After the heated game, fans of the opposing teams left the court with emotions high and later their arguments erupted to a confrontation and police came to question those involved in the scuffle.
Iguel led DFS with 37 big points, while Estolas paced Mobil with 36, but was limited to five points in the second half. Marvin Rabauliman had a quiet 10 points, while Gyles Ruluked and Ron Gamboa were held to eight and two points, respectively, leaving Estolas with inadequate help on offense. Help was a plenty for Iguel, who had five teammates chipping in double figures.[B]PSS 88, Fiesta 74[/B]
In the second semis game, PSS rattled Fiesta with a backcourt pressure defense en route to the 14-point win.
With PSS harassing passers, running after players with possession, and recovering quickly off gambles to challenge every Fiesta shot, the Dave Sablan-led team led by as much as 12 in the first period, 18-6.
PSS started the first period on a 7-0 run and Fiesta clearly struggled against the former’s defense. On a few occasions, Fiesta opted for a long pitch from the backcourt to its frontcourt to avoid PSS’ suffocating defense, but the ball hit the low ceiling twice, making life more difficult for the former all night.
PSS kept pressuring Fiesta in the next three quarters and only let its guard down in the last 2:30 of the game when the former had the game already in the bag.
PSS’ relentless defense allowed only one Fiesta player to score in double figures in a quarter. Jawn Joyner had 10 markers in the second, but had to bleed for his points. In the fourth, he made eight, but four of them came from the foul line. Elmer Esdrelon spent more time evading PSS defenders from the backcourt than squaring up for shots and though he totaled 18 points, he could not make baskets in streaks.
Esdrelon was held to two points in the first, five in the second, three in the third, and eight and four missed free throws in the fourth.
PSS’ unforgiving defense also caught Ivan Devero by surprise, as the Fiesta gunner was limited to eight points and three field goals. Every time Devero received the ball from the backcourt, two and sometimes three PSS defenders chased him all the way to Fiesta’s frontcourt. Devero would either fumble against the tough defense or take hurried shots and muffed them. Ariel Jinang, who finished with 14 points in Fiesta’s win over Shirley’s still finished with 12 points, but had only one triple and four markers in the last three quarters.
The rest of Fiesta players choked against PSS’ ruthless defense with Bruce Berline and Ernie Moises scoring only two points each and Talania making eight ineffective markers.
PSS complemented its efficient defense with a balance offense. Sablan had 26 points, Kelvin Fitial added 25, Mel Manibusan contributed 14, and James Villacrusis and Walter Mendez combined for 17.[B]First Game[/B]
DFS Galeria 109 – Iguel 37, Guiab 19, Lizama 14, White 12, Barcinas 11, Johnson 10, Jung 6.
Mobil 86 – Estolas 36, Demapan 10, Rabauliman 10, Gapor 8, Ruluked 8, Sharry 4, De Guzman 4, Jose 2, Bautista 2, Gamboa 2.
Scoring by quarters: 30-19, 46-47, 77-70, 109-86.[B]Second Game[/B]
PSS/McGraw-Hil 88 – Sablan 26, Fitial 25, Manibusan 14, Villacrusis 9, Mendez 8, Cabrera 2, Buniag 2.
Fiesta 74 – Joyner 24, Esdrelon 18, Jinang 12, Talania 8, Devero 8, Moises 2, Berline 2
Scoring by quarters: 22-14, 46-39, 62-52, 88-74.