Blue Haus won the battle of the unbeaten teams to keep its perfect record (4-0) and take the solo lead in the seven-team field. Erstwhile co-leader Armatech dropped to a 3-1 mark and third place behind idle Mariana Resort (4-1).
The fight for the solo No. 1 spot in the league was closed only in the first quarter with Blue Haus ahead by six, 18-12. By the end of the second period, Blue Haus’ advantage more than doubled, 42-29. Three Blue Haus players scored in succession for the second-quarter surge. Junar Guiab had a string of five points early in that period, Tony Diaz hit back-to-back jumpers, and Bryan Manabat nailed three straight markers. Five other Blue Haus players added at least two baskets apiece to give their team a baker’s dozen lead at halftime.
Blue Haus went on to keep its safe distance against Armatech in the second half, as each player the former fielded in the game found ways to contribute to the team. Blue Haus’ lead ballooned to as much as 25 late in the third before it settled for a 23-point spread, 68-45, entering the final canto.
Guiab led four Blue Haus players in double figures with his 16. Ernie Moises chipped in 13, while Bruce Berline and Ed Pangilinan added 10 each. Five other Blue Haus players tallied at least five points apiece. James Abuy was the lone double figure scorer for Armatech with 13, while Bernard Montano was held to nine, a far cry from his 26 points in their 95-79 win over I Love Saipan last week. The rest of Armatech players picked up garbage points.
In the second game, Hawaiian Rock (3-3) is back on track after routing I Love Saipan, 81-61.
Hawaiian Rock also gained leverage in the second quarter en route to the easy win.
Ahead by only three after the first period, 19-16, Hawaiian Rock zoomed to a 46-26 lead at halftime. De Belen lifted Hawaiian Rock in the second period, drilling 10 of his 14 points in that canto, while Ronald Abaygar contributed six. I Love Saipan was held to 10 points in the second frame, as only Frank Babauta hit more than one basket in that quarter. Babauta scored six points, while Dave Demapan and Leo Ruluked nailed two markers each.
I Love Saipan failed to overhaul the deficit in the second half and it absorbed its fourth loss in as many matches despite getting a strong finish from Peter Camacho. Camacho top-scored for I Love Saipan with his 17 points, firing nine of the team’s last 11 markers. Babauta also had twin digits with his 16 points.
Blue Haus 88 – Guiab 16, Moises 13, Berline 10, Pangelinan 10, Diaz 9, Palacios 7, Manabat 7, Fernandez 6, Mendoza 5, Santos 2.
Armatech 66 – Abuy 13, Montano 9, Malasarte 8, Pablo 6, Tolentino 5, Moreno 5, Ebuen 5, Tobias 4, Poquiz 4, Park 4, Gatdula 2.
Scoring by quarters: 18-12, 42-29, 68-45, 88-66.
Hawaiian Rock 81 – De Belen 14, Palacios 13, Abaygar 12, Salazar 9, Tiples 8, Dela Cruz 8, Lopez 8, Saplan 7.
I Love Saipan 60 – Camacho 17, Babauta 16, Renguul 8, Rangamar 8, Ruluked 2, Sahagun 2, Demapan 2.
Scoring by quarters: 19-16, 46-26, 60-47, 81-60.