Islander Rent A Car took the early lead in the IT&E Emon Masonic Lodge No. 179 Mixed Masters Brotherhood Basketball League after edging Pacific Islands Club Saipan, 75-72, last Saturday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.
Ken Viray came through for Islander in the fourth quarter to hand the team a 2-0 record and the No. 1 spot in the standings in the 10-squad field. PIC fell to a 1-1 mark, as it failed to keep a precarious lead at the end of the third, 54-53, after allowing Viray to burn the hoops in the final quarter.
The Islander wingman was hobbled by foul trouble in the first half and scored only 2 points after three periods. He then redeemed himself in the payoff canto, drilling 14 straight points in that pivotal frame and capping his fourth-quarter explosion by making Islander’s last 4 markers, including two free throws that sealed the deal.
Viray earlier picked up two quick fouls in the opening canto, forcing coach Dennis Cortez to replace him. With Viray out, big man Paulo Sanguyo and Angelo Fernandez took the cudgels for Islander in the first quarter and they handed their team a 16-12 lead.
Viray also had limited minutes in the second canto, but Islander kept the upper hand, 39-35, behind the three triples of Elgene Mangali. Despite falling behind at the break, PIC remained in contention, thanks to the trio of James Abuy, Paulo Rafols, and Sean Rabasto.
PIC Saipan went on to grab the driver’s seat in the third canto, as Viray still could not find his target despite keeping himself out of foul trouble. Abuy and Rabasto knocked in two treys each, while Rafols took care of business inside for PIC Saipan, which went for win No. 2 after prevailing in its opening game against Imperial Pacific.
However, Islander denied PIC’s bid, as the former regained the lead when Viray showed up in the fourth canto, hitting one basket after another.
Meanwhile, Cellular Pro and PEGS played in the second game last Saturday and results of the match will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.
Islander 75 — Viray 20, Mangali 9, Fernando 8, D. Guiang 8, Sanguyo 8, Pangelinan 5, Paraiso 4, R. Guiang 2, Jandoc 2.
PIC Saipan 72 — Abuy 18, Rabasto 17, Rafols 15, Tolentino 5, Castro 4, Catacutan 4, Lewis 3, Sublemente 2, Bartolo 2, Norita 2.
Scoring by quarters: 16-12, 39-35, 54-53, 75-72.