Joeten spoils MBI/KFC’s bid for sweep


Joeten’s Steve Rasa, center, slices the defense of MBI/KFC’s Ivan Devero, left, and Perry Inos during the second quarter of their game in the JP World caging last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Joeten denied MBI/KFC a regular season sweep after pulling off an 89-82 win in the final game in the elimination round of the 2nd JP World Corp. Customer Appreciation Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

With the victory, Joeten and MBI/KFC ended up in a three-way tie for first place with Tan Holdings. The three teams finished the round-robin regular season with similar 7-1 records and league organizers have yet to announce how to break the deadlock. The winner of the No. 1 spot in the nine-team field has an advantage in the next round, as the top finisher will face the last-ranked squad in the playoffs.

Joeten managed to hand MBI/KFC its lone loss in the elimination after working its way back from a 13-point deficit in the first quarter.

MBI/KFC led by as much as 13 late in the opening canto, 28-15, behind the 11 points of White Capalad, who waxed hot early, knocking in 8 of the team’s first 10 points, including back-to-back triples. Angelo Fernando and Naks Gonacao combined for 11 first-quarter points to back up Capalad and help MBI/KFC keep the double-digit spread, 28-17, going into the second canto.

However, MBI/KFC squandered the twin-digit advantage in the second frame, as Juanito Sambile and Dixon Kwon fired up and brought Joeten back into the match. The duo scored Joeten’s first 19 points, while Sidney Quan and Steve Rasa drilled the last two field goals, moving Joeten within 4 at the break, 40-44.

Joeten continued its uphill climb and successfully stole the upper hand from MBI/KFC in the third, 70-67. Kwon was still on target, adding 8 more points. Rasa and Alex Lauron matched Kwon’s production in the third to lift Joeten to a 3-point lead, entering the final canto.

Lauron picked up where he left off early in the fourth quarter, tallying 5 of Joeten’s first 7 points to keep their distance against MBI/KFC, while Kwon finished off their foe by canning four important free throws in the homestretch.

Kwon emerged as the leading scorer in the game with his 30 markers, while Lauron chipped in 19. Sambile and Rasa also had double figures, contributing 16 and 14, respectively.

Capalad paced MBI/KFC with his 24 points, but he was held to two field goals in the second half.

All-Star game
Meanwhile, the JP caging will hold an All-Star game tonight at 7pm, while waiting for the final playoff pairings.

Two to three players from each participating squad were selected to play on the red and blue teams. The red squad is composed of CUC’s James Benavente and George Poquiz, Joeten’s Lauron, Quan, and Kwon, MBI/KFC’s Ivan Devero, Perry Inos and Fernando, and Docomo’s Robert Sanciangco and Tony Diaz. Tan Holding’s Elmer Esdrelon and Matt Duenas will lead the blue squad, which also has McDonald’s Gil Gapor and McClain Achas, Saipan Ice’s Treat Kaipat and Derrick Rangamar, Top Development, Inc.’s Nestor Arreza and Raymond Velasco, and Mariana Resort’s Fred Litulumar and June Fidelino.

A 3-point shootout, featuring one player from each squad, will also take place during the halftime break of the All-Star match.

Joeten 89 – Kwon 30, Lauron 19, Sambile 16, Rasa 14, Quan 6, Tobias 4.

MBI/KFC 82 – Capalad 24, Fernando 19, Devero 13, Gonacao 12, Inos 9, Omampo 5.

Scoring by quarters: 17-28, 40-44, 70-67, 89-82.

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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