Knights vs Eagles in finals


Mt. Carmel School’s Eric Kiser, left, looks for a teammate to pass to as he his closely defended by Marianas Baptist Academy’s Jeong Min Son during the fourth quarter of their semis game in the 2017-2018 Commonwealth Coalition of Private School Association Basketball League yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Mt. Carmel School and Grace Christian Academy revived their storied rivalry after advancing to the championship game in the high school division of the 2017-2018 Commonwealth Coalition of Private School Association Basketball League.

The Knights punched the first finals ticket after crushing Marianas Baptist Academy, 72-45, while the Eagles also eased their way to today’s title match after whipping Agape Christian School in the second semis game, 68-47, yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

The Mt. Carmel-GCA championship showdown this afternoon at 4:30pm will be their fifth finals duel since 2009. The Eagles met the Knights in the boys high school division finals for four straight seasons (2009 to 2013) with the former winning all the titles. Mt. Carmel then fought back from that 0-4 record when it topped the next three seasons of the league, starting its run with a 55-46 victory over Eucon International School and following it up with back-to-back triumphs over MBA, 70-35 and 50-39.

“It’s been a while since we last made it to the finals and we expect another tough battle against Mt. Carmel in tomorrow’s (today) finals,” said Genesis Prieto, who coaches the Eagles along with Frank Dalusong.

“We will try our very best to win again and bring the crown back to GCA,” Prieto added.

Mt. Carmel coach Francis San Nicolas acknowledged that his Knights are favored in the finals, having beaten the Eagles twice in the elimination, 55-37 and 48-42. However, he cautioned his players not to be complacent and to keep on doing the things that brought them into the finals.

“It’s just one game and it’s 50-50. You’ll never know will happen, so we have to keep our focus in the game. Everybody has to contribute, especially on defense. We also have to work early in the game. We have the tendency to start slow,” San Nicolas said.

In their semis game against MBA, Mt. Carmel was up by only a deuce, 17-15. Angelo Factor scored 9 of the Knights’ total points in the opening period, while Dave Lee matched that to keep MBA afloat. The 3-time champions then picked up their scoring in the second quarter to widen the gap, 37-22. Mt. Carmel knocked in four triples in that pivotal canto and retained the double-digit lead in the second half as its continued to burn the hoops and spread the wealth, while MBA leaned heavily on Lee.

Meanwhile, in the second semis match, GCA also started slow as it was held to a deadlock after the first quarter 14-14, before buckling down to work in the next three frames for a 21-point winning margin.

First Game
MCS 72 — Factor 17, Yun 14, Malonzo 10, Cepeda 8, Ace Evangelista 6, Aven Evangelista 5, Tenorio 4, Richardson 4, Ada 3, Kiser 2.
MBA 45 — Lee 22, Park 11, Son 6, Roh 4, Hwang 2.
Scoring by quarters: 17-15, 37-22, 55-34, 72-45.

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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