Island Manpower collapsed in the last 48 seconds of regulation, allowing JP World to eke out an 82-80 overtime win in the first semifinals game in the 2014 QQ Rent A Car Invitational Basketball League last Friday night at the Garapan Basketball Court.
Ahead at 70-67, Island Manpower committed four turnovers in less than a minute, making it possible for JP World to force a standoff with Errol Peredo splitting his charities and Freddie Pelisamen drilling the equalizer with two seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Island Manpower took the precarious 3-point lead when it launched a 6-0 run in the last two minutes of regulation off Jerome Norita’s jumper, Cecilio Bisana’s running bank shot, and Syl Teregeyo’s reverse layup from a steal at JP World’s backcourt.
Jun Estolas then uncharacteristically muffed two charities on the other end. However, Island Manpower failed to keep its composure and the lead in the closing seconds as it committed one error after another. Big man Alex Standish received the inbound pass on two occasions and lost possession on both times, as he was pressured by JP World defenders. Bisana also had two booboos with the first one near the midcourt line in front of the table officials after he received the inbound pass and tried to pick up his dribble, but Peredo sneaked in and stole possession.
Peredo completed the steal and went strong to the basket, missed, but was fouled. He made the first free throw, but the second one hit nothing but air. Island Manpower sued for time in a bid to protect its shaky 2-point lead, 68-70, with 11 seconds left in the fourth.
When the game resumed, Pete Lizama went for an inbound play at the right sideline with the rest of his teammates lining up on that side instead of scattering around to have space in case JP World hounded the receiver. The lack of enough spacing forced Island Manpower to have another crucial turnover, as Bisana had no room to operate when he got the pass from Lizama and he stepped out of the sideline with Pelisamen harassing him.
With nine seconds left, it was JP World’s turn to call a time out and at the resumption of the match, Pelisamen went for an isolation play from the right key with Teregeyo defending him. Pelisamen lost Teregeyo when he drove strong to the wing and pulled up for the bank shot against Bisana. Island Manpower had no timeout left and went for the quick inbound with Lizama getting the pass and throwing up a prayer in the last two seconds. His shot was way too short , sending the first semis game into overtime.
In the extension period, JP World opened the scoring with back-to-back triples from Estolas and Pelisaman to take control of the short frame. JP World never relinquished the upper hand although Island Manpower managed to tie the match off a Lizama triple, 80-all, 1:01 remaining in the extra canto. An Estolas split charity put JP World back on top, while Peredo also hit one charity after he intercepted Lizama’s jump pass to Butch Kaipat and was fouled.
Peredo muffed his second free throw and Gyles Ruluked collared the offensive rebound, but was called for a traveling violation on his way to faking off an Island Manpower defender under the basket. With Ruluked’s error, Island Manpower got the possession back and had a chance to either tie the game or grab the lead with 22 seconds left in the match. Interestingly, Island Manpower did not call a timeout to map out the crucial play and with no instructions who to go to and the clock ticking, Kaipat took matters into his own hands and drove against a phalanx of JP World defenders. He then threw a wayward shot that did not even touch the rim and Pelisamen plucked the rebound, dribbling away from Island Manpower defenders as time ran out.
With the victory, JP World advance to the finals and will face the winner of the Toka-Blue Haus playoff match in a best-of-three title series, starting this Wednesday. Results of the Toka and Blue Haus semis game will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.
After the heartbreaker, Island Manpower will have to settle for the consolation match, which will be played today. Island Manpower absorbed the sorry loss after blowing a 10-point lead at the start of the fourth canto, 56-46. It led by as much as a baker’s dozen late in the third canto, as it more than doubled JP World’s output in that period, 25-10.
JP World 82 – Pelisamen 34, Estolas 16, Ruluked 15, Peredo 7, Camacho 4.
Island Manpower 80 – Bisana 22, Teregeyo 12, Lizama 11, Norita 8, Tabora 7, Kaipat 4, Capalad 4, Standish 4, Libuw 2.