Blue Haus takes mixed masters title


Ali’i Blue Haus/Bayani’s Ed Diaz, second left, goes up for a shot against 8th Division/MAFEA’s Dexter Tenorio, left, and Kelvin Fitial, right, while his teammate Bart Demapan stays close in the play during the third quarter of their title game in the UFO caging last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Ali’i Blue Haus/Bayani played an organized game to ease past an erratic 8th Division/MAFEA, 78-62, in their winner-take-all finals showdown in the 2016 UFO/IT&E Inter-Organizational Basketball League last Tuesday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

After pulling off an upset in the mixed masters semifinals, 8th Division showed no semblance of the team that stunned the second-seeded Best Sunshine International-Blue Eagle, while Ali’i Blue Haus displayed the kind of game that brought the squad several championships.

Ali’i Blue Haus was on point on defense right from the get-go to set the pace of the match. It pressured 8th Division early, preventing its foes from orchestrating its offense. 8th Division was held to two field goals in the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter, allowing Ali’i Blue Haus to build a double-digit lead, 20-7.

The eventual champion complemented its strong defense with a balance offense, as six different players had already scored for the team in the first period. In the second canto, Ali’i Blue Haus remained consistent on both ends of the court, distributing the wealth and forcing 8th Division to rush the ball, commit errors, and pull up for hurried shots.

Though 8th Division doubled up their production in the second canto, it still had to bleed for points and was even down by a bigger margin after the first half as Ali’i Blue Haus enjoyed a 47-21 halftime edge. Ali’i Blue Haus extended the lead, as it continued to rotate its players well and drew points from them, while 8th Division could not find the right combination on the floor.

Ali’i Blue Haus went on to taste its biggest advantage at 49-21, as Ed Diaz started the third quarter with a layup. Diaz and company then kept the 20-plus advantage all throughout the third period, as 8th Division was still turning the ball over on numerous occassions. Errors were not recorded during the game, but 8th Division made more miscues than baskets in that canto. With its erratic plays, 8th Division did not even reach the 30-point mark up until the last one minute of the penultimate frame off Jun Tabora’s 3-point play, 32-55.

The third quarter ended with Ali’i Blue Haus up by 23, 59-36, and the best that 8th Division could do was trim the deficit down to 14 past the halfway mark of the fourth canto, 51-65.

Diaz’s back-to-back basket from almost the exact location (left wing) brought down 8th Division’s hopes for another big comeback in the last 4:04 of the finals. Diaz’s first basket came from a bounce pass from Darwin Barbo with the 24-second shot clock ticking and after Ali’i Blue Haus sued for time to stop 8th Division’s rally. The second was courtesy of an alley-oop pass from Lerio Pagarao on a fastbreak play.

With the win secured along with the championship trophy, Ali’i Blue Haus put the finishing touches on its long-game dominance of 8th Division by going 5-for-6 from the foul line and drawing a leisurely taken jumper from Junar Guiab.

Diaz paced Ali’i Blue Haus’ title win after scoring 18 points, while Ivan Devero and Elmer Esdrelon also finished in double figures with 14 and 11, respectively. Four Ali’i Blue Haus players combined for 34 markers and the team registered 14 assists against only two from 8th Division, which was led by the 13 points of Tabora.

Ali’i Blue Hau 78 — E. Diaz 18, Devero 14, Esdrelon 11, Barbo 9, Moises 9, Guiab 8, Pagarao 8, Demapan 1.

8th Division 62 — J. Tabora 13, Alipio 12, Lauron 10, Fitial 8, Itibus 5, Tenorio 3, Catalla 2, Sanchez 2, Diaz 2.

Scoring by quarters: 20-7, 47-21, 59-36, 78-62.

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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