Maplas upsets Sonics, makes semis


Maplas’ Jun Rueda goes up for an uncontested layup, while the Sonics’ Eric Dela Rosa looks on during the fourth quarter of their playoff game in the San Antonio caging last Thursday at the San Antonio caging.
(Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Maplas pulled the rug under the Sonics, 69-67, to march into the semifinals of the open east division of the 2015 San Antonio Community Action Network Basketball League last Thursday night at the San Antonio court.

Rommel Usi hit a floating jumper, Jun Rueda split his free throws, and Richard Villanueva made a steal in the homestretch to help the seventh-ranked Maplas upset the second-seeded Sonics and join earlier semifinalist Ask Y U b to the next round.

Usi’s shot gave Maplas more distance, 68-65, after the Sonics moved to within a point, 65-66. The Sonics got 3 quick points off Chico Bondoc’s first free throw conversion and a point-blanked shot after he was fed by Adrian Palacios, who collared the offensive rebound following the former’s miss from the 15-foot line, 1:16 left in the match.

Usi tried to get the 3 points back, but his attempt from downtown was too strong and the Sonics took the rebound and pushed the ball with Erlan Lansang leading a fastbreak play. Fortunately for Maplas, Usi made up for his poor shot selection by keeping up with Lansang and forcing the Sonics wingman to fumble.

Maplas successfully stole the possession, but again took an ill-advised shot with Villanueva pulling up for a triple and missing the shot, too. The Sonics, on the other hand, trooped to the line after Jaymark De Guzman was fouled on his way to a layup. However, De Guzman went 0-for-2 from the stripe, allowing Maplas to keep the shaky lead.

With Maplas in possession, Ryan Odicta drove to the basket, hoping to either make the shot or draw a foul on the Sonics’ Erick Dela Rosa. Neither happened, as Gerald Flores picked his pocket and the Sonics worked another fastbreak play, which Villanueva broke as he anticipated the pass intended for De Guzman.

Maplas then wasted several seconds on their 24-second shot clock before Usi attacked from the right key in front of their bench and unloaded the jumper just before Sonics defenders collapsed on him.

Now down by 3 with 18.5 seconds remaining on the clock, the Sonics sued for time. When the game resumed, they got a quick 2-pointer off a turnaround baseline jumper from De Guzman to slice the deficit to 1, 67-68, 15 seconds left in the game.

It was Maplas’ turn to call the time out and at the resumption of the thrilling match, Villanueva and company did a good job moving the ball around and avoiding Sonics defenders until De Guzman hugged Rueda, 8.5 ticks to go in the game.

Rueda nailed the first free throw, but missed the second one. Palacios plucked the rebound, but threw an errant pass, as he went for the pitch to the right side of their frontcourt while the sprinting Flores was on the other side.

The miscue gave possession back to Maplas, which also turned the ball over in the next play with Odicta’s pass to Rueda going too strong and out to the sideline in front of the Sonics bench. The Sonic then called their last timeout to set up for the game-tying 3-point shot. Palacios did the inbound and Melvin Cadiang received the ball, faking off for a triple, but Odicta did not bite on the bait and just put his arms up to prevent the former from getting a clear look at the basket and pulling up for a shot as time expired.

Meanwhile, Cholos 8th Division also barged into the semifinals after crushing Ferrera Builders, 108-80, in the west division pairing.

Cholos’ multiple offensive options proved to be too much for Ferrera, as the former had four players scoring in double figures and six more contributing at least 6 markers apiece.

Ferrera still had a chance in the match after the third, as it faced a manageable deficit, 62-75, but Cholos went for the kill in the fourth en route to the 28-point winning margin.

First Game
Cholos 108 – Tabora 15, Norita 12, Lerio 10, Hernandez 10, Ritual 9, Lizama 9, Zalgatar 8, Laguimdam 8, Capalad 7, Rasa 6, Tobias 3, Rangamar 3.

Ferrera 80 –Pollisco 14, Eldich 13, Edralin 11, Cristobal 11, Serrano 9, Galvez 9, Reyes 8, Mina 5.

Scoring by quarters: 26-18, 51-38, 75-62, 108-80.

Second Game
Maplas 69 – Villanueva 24, Viray 21, Rueda 17, Barrios 2, Jumacquiao 2, Usi 2, Odicta 1.

Sonics 67 – De Guzman 13, Dela Rosa 12, Flores 11, Cadiang 8, Bondoc 7, Fidelino 6, Tekopua 4, Lansang 4, Palacios 2.

Scoring by quarters: 11-12, 34-32, 50-53, 69-67.

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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