Knights survive Torchbearers

Mt. Carmel School 2’s Merrick Toves, right, blocks Agape Christian School 2’s Hansen Li during their game in the CCOPSA caging yesterday at the Agape court in Gualo Rai. (Roby N. Pamintuan)

Mount Carmel School 2 withstood Agape Christian School 2’s comeback attempt to pull off a 57-53 victory in the lone game in the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Varsity Basketball League yesterday at the latter’s court in Gualo Rai.

The Torchbearers, who are still gunning for their first win of the season, got to as close as 4 points late in the fourth quarter, 45-49, but could not overhaul the deficit, as the Knights employed a full court defense in the ensuing plays to force turnovers. MCS 1 then turned those errors into easy baskets and ran the clock in the last minute to keep its lead and take the win.

Earlier in the opening canto, the Knights had the game firmly in their control, as their stifling defense prevented Agape from finding their footing. MCS 2’s airtight defense in the first quarter made the Torchbearers cough up the bank multiple times, which led to the Knights; 10 fastbreak points in that period alone. James San Nicholas and Vince Salvador capitalized on these fastbreak plays and netted 8 and 6 points, respectively, to hand MCS 2 a 21-10 advantage.

The Knights kept the double-digit lead in the second frame, as Salvador continued to hit his target and other players stepped in. Salvador pumped in 7 points, while Christopher Mafnas, Richard Steele, and Jun Hyuk also made baskets to help push the Knights’ advantage to 34-18, heading into the halftime break.

With the Knights holding a comfortable 16-point lead, MCS coach John Hernandez rested his starters for much of the third canto. The Torchbearers took advantage of the opportunity and rallied together to score 18 points in the third—their biggest output in a quarter. Hansen Li and Ray Qi earned 4 points apiece, while Kobe Fu, Isaiah He, and Joel Du also contributed to Agape 2’s cause, as they brought the deficit down to single digit, 36-43, entering the last quarter.

After losing the double-figure advantage, Knights deployed their starters in the fourth quarter to prevent Agape 2 from completing its comeback bid.

Salvador led all scorers with his 18 points, while San Nicolas added 11, and Jeremiah Diaz and team captain Merrick Toves chipped in 7 apiece.

With the victory, MCS 2 improved its record to 2-7, while ACS 2 absorbed its 10th loss.

Meanwhile, in a double-header today at the Koblerville Gymnasium, Saipan Southern High School will duel ACS 2 at 3:30pm, while MCS 2 will match up against GCA. Over at the Kagman Community Center, the Ayuyus will take on Agape 1at 3:30pm.

MCS 2 57—Salvador 18, San Nicolas 11, Diaz 7, Toves 7, Hyuk 6, Mafnas 2, Sablan 2.
ACS 2 53—Qi 16, Dai 9, Li 9, Fu 5, David 4, Du 2, He 2, Shon 2.
Scoring by quarters: 21-10, 34-18, 43-36, 57-53.

Roby N. Pamintuan Author
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