GMJ/IKKI gains semis entry in masters

GMJ Wholesale/IKKI’s Joseph Galulu takes off for a running jumper in front of Erika’s Catering/Ferrera Builders’ Dante Tabora during the second quarter of their playoff game in the masters division of the San Antonio caging last Saturday at the San Antonio court.
(Roselyn B. Monroyo)

GMI Wholesale/IKKI avoided Erika Catering/Ferrera Builders’ upset axe after eking out 90-88 victory in their playoff match in the masters division of the 2015 San Antonio Community Action Network Basketball League last Saturday night at the San Antonio court.

GMI Wholesale/IKKI stole the win and the semis berth that goes with it after overhauling a 4-point deficit in the last minute and change of the match and capitalizing on Erika’s/Ferrera’s errors and missed foul shots.

Erika’s/Ferrera was still on top, 84-80, with less than a minute left in the game when GMI/IKKI launched a short 6-0 run capped by Fradel Sedillo’s breakaway layup off a steal from Art Montes to grab the driver’s seat, 86-84. Sedillo later also had a crucial steal, which he converted to another layup that sealed the deal for GMI/IKKI, 90-86. Erika’s/Ferrera failed to take the lead back in the homestretch as it went 2-for-6 from the free throw area besides turning the ball over twice in the crucial stage of the match. Erika’s/Ferrera collapsed in the end, as it ran out of timeout and an opportunity to reorganize against a GMI/IKKI fightback.

It was a sorry loss for fifth-ranked Erika’s/Ferrera, which tasted the biggest lead in the match, 28-16, and was still ahead by double figures at the end of the third canto, 75-65, before Sedillo and company regrouped and pull off the come-from-behind win.

Erika’s/Ferrera stunned the fourth-seeded GMI/IKKI early in the second quarter with Rodney Catalla hitting back-to-back triples to spark an 8-0 spurt. The surge allowed Erika’s/Ferrera to turn a 20-16 advantage to a 12-point lead. Erika’s/Ferrera threatened to pull away despite having only six players in the first half.

With the match slowly slipping away from its hands, GMI/IKKI sued for time and then unloaded a 14-0 bomb to regain the upper hand, 30-28. It was a close game from thereon and the opposing squads were back to square one at halftime, 44-44.

At the resumption of the match, the depleted Erika’s/Ferrera again surprised GMI/IKKI to reestablish a double-digit lead, entering the final canto. Melvin Villarin and Danny Illahi teamed up in Erika’s/Ferrera’ 31-point explosion in the third quarter, combining for 19 markers

Villarin also scored Erika’s/Ferrera’s first point in the fourth frame off a split free throw, but he was held to two field goals the rest of the way, while Illahi was limited to one basket. The entire Erika’s/Ferrera team made only four field goals and was outgunned by Sedillo and Marlon Binuya, 15-13.

Sedillo and Binuya were among the six GMI/IKKI players who logged double figures for the team, finishing with 10 and 14, respectively. Allison Dizon also recorded 14 markers, Jun Pantaleon chipped in 11, and Joseph Galulu and Dennis Cortez added 10 apiece.

Catalla led all scorers with his 23 points, while Villarin contributed 13.

Meanwhile, regular season champion MJD Enterprise dueled CES Electronic in the other win-or-go-home match last Saturday and results of that playoff match will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday issue. The winner will face GMI/IKKI in the semifinals.

GMI/IKKI 90 – Binuya 14, Dizon 14, Pantaleon 11, Sedillo 10, Galulu 10, Cortez 10, Sison 9, Demapan 3, Montes 3.

Erika’s/Ferrera 88 – Catalla 23, Villarin 21, Illahi 13, Fernandez 8, De Belen 5, Manabat 4, Tabora 2.

Scoring by quarters: 16-20, 44-44, 65-75, 90-88.

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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