Fiesta, POI share lead; Saipan Tribune gains first victory


POI Aviaton’s Ferdie Arago, rights, goes up for a fallaway jumper against Saipan Tribune’s Ferdie De La Torre during the opening game in the TanHoldings caging early this month at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. Both POI and Saipan Tribune won their games last Saturday. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan and POI Aviation are still undefeated, while Saipan Tribune broke into the win column in the 2017 Tan Holdings Inter-Company Basketball League after last Saturday’s triple-header at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Fiesta played in the curtain-raiser and outclassed Kanoa, 68-65, in their first faceoff since last season’s finals for a 3-0 record in the six-team field. POI matched Fiesta’s perfect mark following a 68-61 triumph over Shirley’s Coffee Shop in the second game, while Saipan Tribune earned its first win in three games after crushing the Lower Base Warriors in the last match, 63-47.

Saipan Tribune spread the wealth and got its offensive game going in the second half for a 16-point winning margin.

Djay Ong scored 12 points, while Hark Galarion and Deether Edralin also finished in twin digits with 10 apiece. The seven other players who suited up for Saipan Tribune also hit the board.

In the first match, veteran Elmer Esdrelon had to step up in their game against Kanoa after giving way to his teammates in their first two victories. He fired a team-high 24 points, 15 of them came in the second half, which started with Fiesta behind, 31-37.

Esdrelon hit baskets in succession in the second half and drew help from Lerio Pagarao and Arjay Nonato to survive the 32-point explosion of Kanoa’s Douglas Schmidt. After missing his team’s first two games as he was in Vanuatu and represented the CNMI in the Pacific Mini Games, Schmidt announced his return to the league by scoring 19 points in the first half and putting Kanoa on the driver’s seat.

Schmidt kept going, but failed to get support from his teammates, while Esdrelon flashed his vintage form and was backed up by Pagarao and Nonato to spoil the former’s season debut.
In the second game, POI was in control of its match against Shirley’s right from the get-go to keep its record clean and join Fiesta on top of the team standings.
Ferdie Arago led POI anew with his 20 points, while five of his teammates combined for at least 7 points each.

First Game
Fiesta 68 — Esdrelon 24, Pagarao 21, Nonato 10, Arreza 10, Sedillo 3.
Kanoa 65 — Schmidt 32, Pablo 12, Lumauag 6, Francisco 6, Encarna 4, Bustillo 2, Joab 2.
Scoring by halves: 31-37, 68-65.

Second Game
POI 68 — Arago 20, Santos 9, Tenepere 8, Kaipat 7, Bait 7, Nakashima 7, Paran 3, Yu 2, Pascual 2, Kim 2.
Shirley’s 61 — Laxa 22, Jugos 16, Drilon 8, Gian 8, Alonzo 3, Catungal 2, Palma 2.
Scoring by halves: 37-28, 68-61.

Third Game
Saipan Tribune 63 — D. Ong 12, Galarion 10, Edralin 10, M. Ong 8, Angeles 4, Usi 4, Rabago 3, Calibo 2, J. Ong 2, Pagarao 2.
Warriors 47 — Fujihira 10, Riungel 9, Kenty 6, Echavez 5, Jinang 5, Alegre 4, Camu 4, Dowai 2, Lizama 2.
Scoring by halves: 21-18, 63-47.

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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