Gwap Gang vs Pelicans for MDX title

San Antonio?s Emerson Feria blocks a shot from Gwap Gang?s Jared Ano during the second quarter of their semis game in the MDX caging last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO)

San Antonio?s Emerson Feria blocks a shot from Gwap Gang?s Jared Ano during the second quarter of their semis game in the MDX caging last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO)

Gwap Gang shut down San Antonio in the overtime period to cruise to an 80-68 win in their playoff duel and nailed the second and last finals berth in the 2014 MDX Amateur Radio Club Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
It was a heat breaking loss, as San Antonio had a chance to win the match in regulation, but Nevin Salem missed the two crucial free throws in the last 8.7 seconds of the fourth quarter. Gwap Gang also had an opportunity to win it outright after getting the rebound off Salem’s second miss. However, Erick Dela Rosa ran out of time to move closer to the basket, as his desperation shot near the 3-point area at the buzzer was way too short.

Dela Rosa made up for the sorry miss right into the opening seconds of the extension period with his undergoal stab, while Mike Ito hit two straight putbacks to give momentum to Gwap Gang. Ito added 4 more points, while Kelvin Fitial scored the other 2 points for Gwap Gang, muscling his way against San Antonio defenders for a point-blank shot.

San Antonio fell apart in the extra five minutes of play, missing at least 15 field goal attempts and two free throws. It played majority of the overtime without point guard Jack Aranda, while J.P. Villanueva and Bryle Alegre were in and out of the game due to cramps.

Before playing in the extra frame, Gwap Gang and San Antonio engaged in a seesaw battle in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. San Antonio had the lead for the last time, 60-59 before Gwap Gang stole the driver’s seat and gain cushion, 65-60 off Lester Vertudez’s 6 straight points. San Antonio then countered with its own 5-0 run to force a tie, which Shane Diaz broke with his drive, 67-65, going into the last two minutes of the match.

Teams exchanged errors and missed in the ensuing plays to stall the score before Fitial managed to troop to the foul line for a pair. He got the lucky bounce in his first free throw attempt, but muffed the second one. San Antonio quickly attacked with Villanueva pulling up for a baseline jumper and missing. Salem went for a putback and faltered, too.

Still ahead by 3, with 36.3 seconds left, Gwang Gang got the ball back, but failed to hit the insurance as Rodney Sacramento lost possession. Jaymark De Guzman picked up the loose ball and went coast-to-coast for and and-1 play against Sacramento. The lefty completed the 3-point play for the standoff, 68-all, 28.5 seconds remaining in the fourth.

With only 4.5 seconds separating the game clock from the shot clock, Gwap Gang took time to orchestrate its play before Vertudez attacked toward the right baseline. However, Alegre shut the door on Vertudez, who was forced to kick the ball out to the top of the key. However, the leather landed on the wrong hands with Salem catching it and driving strong to the basket. He missed the shot, got a foul on Sacramento, and muffed the pressure-packed free throws to give Gwap Gang a chance to win the game in overtime.
With the victory, Gwap Gang will face the Pelicans in a winner-take-all finale tomorrow. The Pelicans booked the first finals ticket after slipping past IT&E. 63-57.

A 20-9 scoring binge in the fourth quarter catapulted the Pelicans to the finals berth-clinching win. Don Brennan scored 10 of those 20 points, including 4 of the Pelicans’ last 6 markers. Leo Galarse added 6, while Bo Yamada IT&E 57 – Gamboa 20, De Dios 10, Barrios 8, Peredo 8, Mateo 2, Dayrit 2.
Scoring by quarters: 14-13, 30-32, 43-48, 63-57.

Second Game
Gwap Gang 80 – Fitial 16, Ito 16, Dela Rosa 14, Yap 9, Vertudez 8, L. Deleon Guerrerp 5, Darag 4, Sacramento 2.
San Antonio 68 – Alegre 20, De Guzman 13, J.P. Villanueva 11, Feria 9, Caro 7, Salem 4, Aranda 2.

Scoring by quarters: 18-19, 41-39, 54-59, 68-68, 80-68.

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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