Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan regained the crown it lost to Kanoa Resort last season following a 78-71 victory in their title rematch in the 2017 Tan Holdings Inter-Company Basketball League last Friday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.
Fiesta Resort withstood Kanoa Resort’s early run in the fourth quarter and hung tough down the stretch to prevail in the winner-take-all finals and spoil Douglas Schmidt’s 41-point explosion for the dethroned champion.
Schmidt, who spent a lot of time on the bench in the third quarter due to an injury, returned in the payoff canto and scored 8 straight points to help Kanoa Resort grab the lead, 63-60. The fourth canto started with Fiesta ahead, 60-55, and the eventual champion squad led by as much as 10 in the third canto, taking advantage on the absence of Schmidt.
Then after getting caught off guard by Schmidt in the opening minutes of the fourth, Fiesta answered with a backbreaking 14-0 scoring surge to reclaim the upper hand. Lerio Pagarao delivered the killer blows for Fiesta, as he drilled 12 points in that run, while Arjay Nonato tallied the other field goal.
Now behind, 74-63, and with its title on the line, Schmidt tried to lead Kanoa Resort’s final push when he knocked in back-to-back triples. However, that was not enough to bring Kanoa Resort back into the game and it did not help his squad cause that he lacked support from his teammates.
Schmidt scored all of Kanoa Resort’s 16 points in the fourth quarter, while his teammates muffed crucial baskets one after another in the closing minutes of the finale. Fiesta Resort, on the other hand, drew 2 points each from Fradel Sedillo and Elmer Esdrelon to seal the title win.
Pagarao top-scored for Fiesta with his 26 points and got a lot of help from his teammates and that made the difference in the game. Esdrelon chipped in 18, Paul Quizon contributed 16, while Sedillo and Nonato combined for 14 more markers.
Dindo Pablo was the only other double-figure scorer for Kanoa Resort with his 18 points, but he was held to two field goals in the second half. The other players who made it to Kanoa Resort’s box scores earned no more than one field goal.
Meanwhile, in the battle for third place, Shirley’s Coffee Shop eased past Saipan Tribune, 77-59.
Duncan Laxa peppered Saipan Tribune with triples to hand Shirley’s the Top 3 finish. Laxa buried five triples to end up with a game-high 33 markers. Keeanu Diaz, John Jugos, and Junar Guiab backed him up, as all three scored in twin digits in Shirley’s easy win.
Almond Edralin led Saipan Tribune’s losing cause after recording 18 points. Saipan Tribune faced a 12-point deficit in the first half, but managed to recover and even took the lead at the break, 36-34, before falling behind anew in the second half, as it failed to contain Shirley’s gunners and matched its opponent’s hot shooting.
Fiesta Resort 78 — Pagarao 26, Esdrelon 18, Quizon 16, Nonato 8, Sedillo 6, Arreza 3, Francisco 2, Demafelix 1.
Kanoa Resort 71 — Schmidt 41, Pablo 18, Bustillo 5, Tam 2, Encarnacion 2, Lumauag 2, Francisco 1.
Scoring by quarters: 18-19, 40-32, 60-55, 78-711.
Shirley’s 77 — Laxa 33, Diaz 16, Jugos 11, Guaib 11, Alonzo 3, Bordon 2.
Saipan Tribune 59 — Edralin 18, Lapus 10, Orbeta 7, Rabago 6, Calayag 5, De La Torre 4, M. Ong 2, J. Ong 2.
Scoring by halves: 34-36, 77-59.