Joel, Ezra outlast opponents


Ezra’s Nathan Borromeo is surrounded by Nahum defenders during their youth division game in the first round of the Gen Cup at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Joel and Ezra pulled off close wins at the start of the second round of the youth division competition in the 5th Genesis Cup Christian Churches Inter-Color Basketball League last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Ezra withstood Nahum’s second-half rally to eke out a 65-63 victory in the curtain-raiser, while Joel slipped past Jonah in overtime, 75-72, in the second match. Ezra and Joel now hold similar 4-1 records to share the top spot, while Joel slid to second place with its 3-2 slate. Nahum dropped to a 1-4 mark to remain at fourth place, while idle Hagai (0-4) completes the team standings.

Andrew Palino carried the load for Joel in the extension period, scoring all but one of the team’s 11 points. Jordan Ocaya made the other point for Joel, which was forced to play for five more minutes after Jethro Cruz hit the game-tying basket at the buzzer.

Palino top-scored for Joel with his 32 points, while Ocaya also finished in double figures with his 15.

Cruz paced Jonah, registering 28 points, while Sam Darag and Chino Ponce contributed 16 and 11, respectively.

In the first game, Ezra avoided a monumental collapse in the second half, thanks to Nathan Borromeo, who scored 8 of the team’s last 12 markers. Gabby De Leon and Jerald Santiago logged the four other points with the latter’s field goal sealing the win for Ezra.

Ezra was comfortably ahead at the break, 40-22, but slowly lost the double-digit advantage when Hao Yu Chen anchored Nahum’s comeback bid and Chris Sacdalan stepped up in place of David Cai, who missed last Monday’s match.

Chen scored 12 straight markers in the early part of the second half, while Sacdalan knocked in three triples to bring Ezra’s lead down to single digit. However, Nahum failed to steal the win in the end, as Borromeo was there to save the day for Ezra.

Borromeo led all scorers with his 28 points, while Chen had 27 on a losing cause.

First Game
Ezra 65 — Borromeo 28, Buno 10, Sumpay 8, Guevarra 6, Santiago 6, De Leon 2.
Nahum 63 — Chen 27, Sacdalan 18, Wang 8, Tu 8, Tenorio 2.
Scoring by halves: 40-22, 65-61.

Second Game
Joel 75 — Palino 32, Ocaya 15, Cruz 8, Ocanada 8, Elchico 7, De Leon 4.
Jonah 72 — Cruz 28, Darag 16, Ponce 11, Gozon 8, Cabrera 4, Bordon 2, Marcellana 2.
Scoring by halves: 29-23, 64-64, 75-72 (OT).

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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