Joeten enters finals; McDonald’s stays alive


McDonald’s Joe Ayuyu Jr. pulls up for a running hook shot against Tan Holdings’ Elmer Esdrelon during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of their semis series in the JP World caging last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

McDonald’s avoided elimination, while Joeten marched into the finals after prevailing in Game 2 of their respective semis series in the 2nd JP World Corp. Customer Appreciation Basketball League last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Joeten closed out its best-of-three semis showdown against Commonwealth Utilities Corp. after walking away with a 90-75 victory, while McDonald’s forced a deciding Game 3 following a 75-74 upset versus top seed Tan Holdings.

McClain Achas helped McDonald’s extend the short series, as he nailed the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds of Game 2. McClain hit the dagger off a miss by brother Michael and after Elmer Esdrelon’s triple put Tan Holdings on top, 74-73.

Esdrelon converted the big trey from the left corner, but after his jumper, other Tan Holdings players celebrated early at the backcourt and forgot to play transition defense quickly.

On the other hand, McDonald’s pushed the ball to its frontcourt with Michael driving through the middle against Esdrelon and Gerald Rivera. He lost the ball on his way for a layup, but fortunately McClain was there for the trailer and the putback. The McDonald’s big man also drew a foul on Esdrelon and trooped to the line for the bonus shot with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock.

McClain intentionally missed the free throw, while Rivera failed to control the rebound and instead tapped it to Matt Duenas, who was forced to make a pitch from the backcourt with the ball going out of the baseline as time expired.

McClain was one of the four McDonald’s players who finished in double figures in Game 2, as he knocked in 15 markers. Michael led the team with his 25 points, while Gil Gapor and Joe Ayuyu Jr. contributed 10 apiece. Duenas paced Tan Holdings with his 23 markers.

Highly favored to sweep McDonald’s after a convincing 83-69 win in Game 1, Tan Holdings started flat in Game 2, allowing the former to take a 23-15 lead. Michael had 12 points in the first period to lift McDonald’s to an 8-point lead.

Tan Holdings then forced a deadlock at the end of the second quarter, 37-all, and managed to take a 45-39 advantage heading into the last three minutes of the third before McDonald’s closed out with a 15-4 run to regain the upper hand, 54-49.

McDonald went on to lead by as much as 8, 72-64, going into the final two minutes of the match, but it committed several turnovers in the ensuing plays, allowing Tan Holdings to inch in closer. Tan Holdings launched a 7-0 run, capped by Duenas’ corner jumper, to move within 1, 71-72, 28.8.8 seconds to go in the game.

Two missed free throws from Michael and a split from Gapor gave McDonald’s a precarious 2-point lead, 73-71, which Esdrelon wiped out with his triple. However, McDonald’s still had a last say, thanks to McClain’s good trailer job.

McDonald’s will play the rubber match against Tan Holdings tonight at 6:30pm.

Meanwhile, in the Joeten-CUC tiff, the former got its offensive game going right at the opening frame to set up another easy victory.

Joeten, which cruised to a 96-81 win in Game 1 last Friday, established an early double-digit margin, 24-14, and never looked back to notch the first finals berth.

Again, Dixon Kwon and Sid Quan teamed up in the victory, scoring 20 and 16 points, respectively, while Joeten also got a lift from point guard Ferdie Tobias, who registered 16 markers, too.

With Joeten finishing its semis series, it will have several days of rest before playing in the finals, which will start on Monday and will also be a best-of-three affair.

First Game
Joeten 90 – Kwon 20, Quan 16, Tobias 16, Lauron 12, Camacho 12, Taisague 6, Sambile 5, Rasa 3.

CUC 75 – Manglona 15, Poquiz 12, Santos 12, Nunez 11, Benavente 10, Camacho 4, Masga 3.

Scoring by quarters: 24-14, 50-41, 74-56, 90-75.

Second Game
McDonald’s 75 – Mi. Achas 25, Gapor 19, Mc. Achas 15, Ayuyu 10, J. Achas 6.

Tan Holdings 74 – Duenas 22, Pablo 11, Rivera 11, Esdrelon 9, Macoto 7, Nonato 6, Quizon 4, Palacios 2, Matsutaro 2.

Scoring by quarters: 23-15, 37-37, 54-49, 75-74

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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