GPPC noses out CUC to keep streak


GPPC’s Alex Ocampo, right, and Aba Tagle, left, sandwich CUC’s Travis Spaeth during the fourth quarter of their game in the JEM/Mobil caging last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

GPPC escaped with a 84-82 win against the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. in the second game in the JEM Company Ltd./Mobil Customer Appreciation Basketball League last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Alex Ocampo hit the dagger off a feed from Randy Mungcal as GPPC stole the victory from CUC, which collapsed in the second half after leading by as much as 20 points early in the second quarter.

The game-winning basket came after CUC’s Eugene Manglona threw an errant pass to Travis Spaeth and Bobby Sampang picked up the loose ball before giving the leather to Mungcal. The GPPC wingman then seemed headed for a fastbreak layup, but decided in the last minute to pass to Ocampo, who was closer to the basket and canned the 8-footer with 4.5 seconds left in their Pool A duel.

CUC sued for time, but failed to convert in the last play as John Santos’ turnaround jumper off an inbound pass from Iramk Simada hit the side of the board and although the former wrestled the ball from Mungcal after the miss, the buzzer had already sounded even before he pulled up for another shot.

Mungcal top-scored in GPPC’s come-from-behind win with his 30 points, including the equalizer, which was a fastbreak layup off a series of helter-skelter plays between the two teams. Mungcal took off just a few steps past the 15-foot line and stretched for the game-tying shot.

Mungcal’s layup made up for GPPC’s two earlier errors, with the last one CUC converted into a breakaway shot from Manglona for an 82-80 lead. CUC could have led by more as it opened the last three minutes of the match with a 76-71 advantage off Simada’s 5 straight points. However, the team missed several free throws down the stretch and then made one miscue after another in the final canto, giving GPPC the chance to recover.

It was a sorry loss for CUC, as it once enjoyed a 39-19 spread in the opening minutes of the second quarter. After the big lead, CUC (3-2) started to fold up, while Mungcal and Ocampo teamed up in bringing GPPC (3-2) back into the game and eventually helped their squad grab the upper hand at the break, 45-44. Mungcal fired 14 points in the second canto, while Ocampo chipped in 8.

It was a close match after that with the game back to square one at the end of the third period, 64-all, while the opposing teams went back and forth in the fourth, but neither moved up by more than 5 markers.

Meanwhile, Top Development, Inc. gave Star Water a rude welcome in the league by pouncing on the debuting squad, 88-65.

Raymond Velasco scored 34 points, while Krizgel Arreza chipped in 24 to lift TDI to the easy win over Star Water, which played only its first game in the league as it entered the competition a bit late and had to wait for its uniforms.

With Velasco and Arreza on target, TDI (4-2) led right from the get-go and never looked back for their fourth win in six games in Pool B.

First Game
TDI 88 – Velasco 34, K. Arreza 24, A. Reyes 12, J. Reyes 10, Ibbara 4, Pollisco 2, Barros 2.
Star Water 65 – Gallardo 21, Santos 12, Dizon 8, Quiban 6, Gaius 4, Ombao 3, Rojas 2.
Scoring by quarters: 24-12, 45-30, 67-50, 88-65.

Second Game
GPPC 84 – Mungcal 30, Ocampo 23, Santos 10, Norial 7, Sampang 6, A. Tagle 4, Lagura 2, Bandojo 2.
CUC 82 – Manglona 31, Simada 12, Santos 10, Kaipat 9, Spaeth 9, Pestillos 7, Poquiz 2, Lieto 2.
Scoring by quarters: 18-31, 45-44, 64-64, 84-82.

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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