Duenas’ 47 points lift 670 Sonics past Saints

The Saints’ Shane Deleon Guerrero, left, reaches in to tap the ball away from the 670 Sonics’ Matt Duenas during the first quarter of their playoff game in the MIBF island-wide caging last Friday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Matt Duenas’ guns were blazing, as he powered the 670 Sonics to a 103-93 victory against the Saints in their playoff game in the men’s division of the 2018 MIBF Island-wide Basketball League last Friday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Duenas exploded for 47 points, as he anchored the 670 Sonics’ offense all throughout the game to beat the No. 7 rank Saints, which gave their No. 2 seed foe a good fight despite having the underdog tag.

The Saints led after the opening quarter, 23-17, and even worked their way back from a 39-48 halftime deficit when they regained the driver’s seat, 77-74, going into the fourth canto. Shane Deleon Guerrero, Dixon Kwon, Don Brennan, and Leo Galarse combined for 33 of the Saints’ 37 points in the third period—the most by any team in a quarter—to threaten the 670 Sonics.

However, the 670 Sonics rode on the shoulders of Duenas in the fourth period to grab the upper hand en route to the double-digit winning margin. The burly forward scored 16 points in the final canto to eliminate the Saints and bring the 670 Sonics to the semifinals.

Duenas scored in twin digits in three out of the four quarters of the playoff match in an outstanding display of his offensive firepower. He logged 12 in the first frame and made 11 in the penultimate period. Earlier in the second canto, Duenas contributed 8 points and four of his teammates knocked at least two field goals apiece allowing the 670 Sonics to recover from a 7-point deficit in the first and take a 48-38 halftime edge.

The former Saipan Southern High School standout was still unstoppable in the second half and saved his best for last after drilling eight field goals in the final 10 minutes of the match.

With their victory over the Saints, the 670 Sonics set a semis showdown against Casino tonight at 8pm. In the first Final Four game at 6:30pm, it will be the pennant champions Ol’Aces versus the Genesis All-Stars.

The Genesis All-Stars took the last semis seat after routing the Ol’Aces Extra last Monday, 90-74.

Ken Viray, Kelvin Fitial, Derrick Rangamar, and Maverick Itibus teamed up in handing the Genesis All-Stars a Final Four ticket, as all four scored in double figures. Viray recorded 16 points, Fitial added 15, and Rangamar and Itibus contributed 14 and 12, respectively.

Meanwhile, winners of tonight’s semis matches will collide in a best-of-three title series, which will begin this Friday.

670 Sonics 103 — M. Duenas 48, Ngeskebei 15, Aranda 12, Rabasto 7, E. Duenas 6, Ordona 5, D. De Guzman 4, Fidelino 4, Abobo 2.

Saints 93 — Deleon Guerrero 22, Ada 16, Kwon 15, Galarse 14, Brennan 12, Villagomez 6, Diaz 4, Reyes 4.

Scoring by quarters: 16-23, 48-39, 74-77, 103-93.

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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