Manta Rays win debut in high school caging


Saipan Southern High School crushed Grace Christian Academy, 82-34, for a strong start in the boys division of the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Varsity Basketball League yesterday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

Manta Ray starters Greg Deleon Guerrero, Adi Ordona, Clarenz Contreras, Champ Sabangan, and Glen Matalog turned their defensive plays into a flurry of layups to put the game out of the Eagles’ reach right at the end of the first half, 36-18.

The Manta Rays then shifted to a full court man-to-man press and continued to pile up baskets after the intermission, allowing the squad to rack up 42 points in the paint in the second half to complete the blowout. GCA did not have a chance to bring down the deficit to a decent number, as the Eagles failed to keep up with Saipan Southern’s offensive firepower, scoring only 16 points in the last two quarters.

“Teamwork and self-esteem were the keys for today’s victory,” Manta Rays coach Ed Guinto said after their dominant performance. “They had to trust themselves and their teammates.”

Saipan Southern’s explosive start in the league came despite having a short time to prepare for the opening of the season. The Manta Rays were advised relatively late and had about only two weeks to get ready for the competition. They also had to work with the courts that were available on a day-to-day basis in that two- week span.

“We only practice here [Koblerville Gymnasium], at Saipan Southern, and at any court that we can see,” Guinto said. “We’ve been practicing for only two weeks since we received a last-minute invitation.”

Agape, Kagman deliver in opener
In the other boys division games, Agape Christian School and Kagman High School also won their season debuts.

Agape 1 blazed its way past the visiting Mt. Carmel School 2, 63-44, while hosts Ayuyus overwhelmed Saipan International School, 51-33.

Meanwhile, matches in the high school caging will continue today with five games spread out in different courts.

In the boys division, Kagman and Southern will be gunning for win No. 2 as they collide at the Ayuyus court at 3:30pm. Over at the SIS court in As Lito, the Geckos will take on MCS 2 with the opposing teams looking to secure their first win of the season. At the Agape court in Gualo Rai, GCA will be challenging Agape 2, while at the Koblerville Gymnasium, the Lady Knights will be making their season debut against Agape at 4:30pm or after the 3:30pm boys division match between MCS 1 and Agape 1.

Roby N. Pamintuan

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