Lower Base secures semis spot; Shirley’s bounces back


Lower Base’s William Benavente attempts an acrobatic shot against POI’s Ramsa Tenepere, left, and Raymond Peters during their first round game in the regular season of the Tan Holdings caging at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Lower Base punched the last semis ticket in the 2016 Tan Holdings Inter-Company Basketball League after rallying past JP Mambas, 53-52, last Friday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Lower Base improved its record to 3-6 for fourth place in the team standings, while JP Mambas fell to a 2-7 slate. Both teams have one game left in the double-round robin elimination with Lower Base taking on Fiesta (6-3) and JP Mambas meeting Pacific Oriental, Inc. (1-8) tonight. A Lower Base loss and JP Mambas win would bring the two teams in a deadlock for fourth place (similar 3-7 records) and in this case the former will still prevail in the tiebreak as it defeated the latter twice this season.

JP Mambas wasted an opportunity to avenge its first round loss to Lower Base and boost its playoff bid after squandering a double-digit lead after the break. JP Mambas was ahead by 11 at halftime, 35-24, behind the 11 points of Djay Ong and Ferdie De La Torre’s 8 markers.

Lower Base went on to overhaul JP Mambas’ lead in the second half, thanks to Joe Bazinero’s outside shooting. Bazinero dropped 17 of his 22 points in the final half with his last three baskets coming from beyond the arc. He also drilled 9 straight markers late in the second half to lift Lower Base to the close win. Shawn Fujihira and Ariel Jinang supported Bazinero in their comeback bid, combining for 11 markers in the final 20 minutes of play.

With the victory, Lower Base joins the unbeaten Kanoa Resort (9-0), Fiesta Resort, and Shirley’s Coffee Shop (5-4) to the playoff round.

Shirley’s got its fifth win after defeating POI in the curtain-raiser, 75-70.

Jerome Pollisco top-scored for the Shirley’s with his 20 points and drew a lot of help from his teammates. John Jugos contributed 17, while Erick Dela Rosa chipped in 14, and Delon Sabino and Angel Catungal added 9 each.

Jugos helped Shirley’s keep the lead in the homestretch after knocking down crucial free throws. Shirley’s last 6 markers were all made from the foul line with Jugos hitting five and Pollisco having a split.

Ferdie Arago paced the eliminated POI with his 19 points. Jesse Santos tallied 17, while Ramsa Tenepere and Brian Villaluna posted 15 and 11, respectively.

First Game
Shirley’s 75 — Pollisco 20, Jugos 17, Dela Rosa 14, Catungal 9, Sabino 9, Palma 4, Bordon.

POI 70 — Arago 19, Santos 17, Tenepere 15, Villaluna 11, Guevarra 8.

Scoring by halves: 40-33, 75-70.

Third Game
Lower Base 53 — Bazinero 22, Jinang 10, Fujihira 10, J. Benavente 6, W. Benavente 5.

JP Mambas 52 — D. Ong 17, De La Torre 12, Raho 6, Ong 6, Calibo 4, Regis 3, Rabago 3, Pagarao 2.

Scoring by halves: 24-35, 53-52.

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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