Fiesta finished the round-robin preliminary with a 5-1 record, tying Pacific Islands Club for the top spot. Fiesta, which missed a perfect record in the regular season after losing to Shirley’s Coffee Shop/Century Hotel last week, 70-76, went on to win the tiebreak via win-over-the-other rule as it defeated PIC, 77-76, in their July 24 encounter.
The victory over Kanoa and the No. 1 spot in the seven-team field also gave Fiesta a bye in the playoff round, which starts tonight. Shirley’s Century, which finished fourth with its 4-2 record, duels defending champion and fifth-ranked Hyatt Regency Saipan in the first playoff match at 7:30pm with the loser taking on Fiesta next week. In the other first round pairing tonight, the third-seeded World Resort (4-2), which edged Shirley’s/Century in the tiebreak, challenges the six-ranked Kanoa Resort (1-5). PIC and cellar dweller Mariana Resort (0-6) complete the first round pairing and they will square off on Tuesday at 10pm. The playoff round has a double-elimination format.
Fiesta will go the playoffs with a momentum on its side, following a lopsided win over the depleted Kanoa Resort, which suited up in its last game in the regular season with only five players and missed gunner Matt Duenas.
Despite its shorthanded roster, Kanoa Resort managed to stay in the game in the first quarter, falling behind by only a point, 16-17. Domingo David and Fred Litulumar kept Kanoa in the match, scoring 6 points apiece in the opening canto. Djay Ong also had 6 markers for Fiesta, while Elmer Esdrelon and Lerio Pagarao combined for 9.
Paul Quizon missed the first quarter for Fiesta, but showed up in the second with his guns blazing, dropping 12 of his 18 points to lead the team’s breakaway. He scored 2 more points than the total output of Kanoa to power Fiesta to a 44-26 halftime lead. Only three players hit the board for Kanoa in the second quarter and Litulumar was the lone player to nail more than one field goal in the meltdown.
Kanoa never recovered from thereon, as it clearly lacked manpower to counter Fiesta Resort’s firepower. Besides Quizon, three other Fiesta players finished in twin digits with Ong adding 17 and Jared Matsutaro and Pagarao contributing 14 each. Esdrelon, Rex Demafelix, and Adonis Macoto totaled 19 more points for Fiesta. Dindo Pablo led Kanoa with his 20 markers, while Litulumar and David chipped in 18 and 12, respectively.
Fiesta Resort 86 – Quizon 18, Ong 17, Matsutaro 14, Pagarao 14, Esdrelon 7, Demafelix 6, Macoto 6, Manalo 2, Lavarias 2.
Kanoa Resort 66 – Pablo 20, Litulumar 18, David 12, Lumawag 7, Armia 6.
Scoring by quarters: 17-16, 44-26, 64-43, 86-66.