Manta Rays dominate Geckos for ninth win


Saipan Southern High School, left, and Saipan International School players battle for the rebound during their game in the CCOPSA caging yesterday at the Koblerville Gymnasium. (Roby N. Pamintuan)

Saipan Southern High School overpowered Saipan International School, 57-37, in the boys division game in the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Varsity Basketball League yesterday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

The Manta Rays set up the 20-point winning margin after pulling away in the second quarter.

With Saipan Southern ahead by only four early into the second period, 24-20, Clarenz Contreras shifted gears and made three straight baskets off fastbreak plays, while Bryan De Guzman and Rafael Ordona also scored in the Mantas’ surge for their 34-22 halftime lead.

After the Saipan Southern trio combined for a 10-2 run in final half of the second quarter, the Mantas never looked back.

Before falling way behind, the Geckos got 10 of their 12 points from Mike Lee and A.J. Hudkins to stay in the game. However, Glen Matalog and Ervin Villarin wrapped up the first quarter with two fastbreak baskets to put Saipan Southern on top, 16-12.

Contreras led all scorers with his18 points, while Villarin and Jesstin Laniyo also had double figures with 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Hudkins top-scored for the Geckos with his 16 points, while Lee logged in 10, and J.P. Sablan netted 7.

The Mantas now have a 9-2 record and are still at the No. 2 spot in the team standings, while SIS stumbled to a 3-4 card for fifth spot.

Over at the Agape Christian School’s court in Gualo Rai, the Lady Torchbearers upset the leading Lady Knights, 28-23.

Agape caught fire in the second half after a lackluster showing in the first two quarters. The Lady Torchbearers had 19 points in the third and fourth periods, while MCS struggled to score in the second half, managing only 5 points in that meltdown.

Agape was down at halftime, 7-14, but overhauled the deficit, as Lani Lishoalo scored all her 6 points in the pivotal fourth quarter, and Elizabeth Xu chipped in with 4.

Ivy Yu churned in 9 points for the Lady Torchbearers, while Lishoalo and combined for 12. Louisa Han recorded 10 points for MCS and all came in the first half, while Katelyn Diaz contributed 4.

With the upset, Agape got its first win in four games and dealt the Lady Knights their first loss of the season.

Meanwhile, in the boys division game, MCS 1 beat Agape 1, 91-80.

With the win, the Knights hiked their record to 9-3, while Agape 1 staggered to a 6-4 mark.

Agape 1 returns to action today when it hosts Saipan Southern, while GCA will meet Kagman High School at the Eagles court in Navy Hill. In other games, MCS 1 will play MCS 2 at the Koblerville Gymnasium, while SIS will host Agape 2 in As Lito.

SSHS 57—Contreras 18, Villarin 11, Laniyo 10, De Guzman 8, Ordona 4, Ichihara 2, Lucina 2, Matalog 2.

SIS 37—Hudkins 16, Lee 10, J.P. Sablan 7, Muna 2, Qian 2.

Scoring by quarters: 16-12, 34-22, 39-29, 57-37.

Roby N. Pamintuan

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