Mawati, Irish Spring enter semis


Irish Spring's Art Trajano, right, and Bernard Samson, left, challenge the shot of the Fastbreakers' Luther Taylor during their playoff game in the DLX/DL JOS caging last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)  The 2012 DLX/DL JOS Inter-Color Basketball League is down to four teams after Mawati and Irish Spring ousted two more squads in their separate playoff games last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.

Mawati eliminated Brabu Gualo Rai after escaping with a 61-57 overtime win in the first game, while Irish Spring booted out the Fastbreakers, following a tough win, 64-55, in another low-scoring match. Irish Spring and Mawati collide against Team Pogi and KFC/Taco Bell, respectively, in tonight’s semifinals matches.

After wasting an 11-point lead in the third quarter, Mawati avoided a total collapse when it held Brabu scoreless in the last 2:02 of the extension period, forced a couple of turnovers, and drew clutch baskets from Spam Avila.

Avila, who earlier muffed two free throws that could have cut Mawati’s 3-point lead, 54-57, to one in the final two minutes, trooped to the line anew when Brabu lost the leather past midcourt and gave up a foul. This time he nailed the two charities and later stepped on the foul line, again for an and-1 play after picking up a loose ball off another Brabu error from the top key. Avila made the bonus for Mawati’s 59-57 advantage, 54 seconds left on the clock.

A missed drive from Danny Dayrit and two more errors doomed Brabu’s chances in the game, while Francis Serrano, who also muffed his first two free throws, went 2-for-2 on his next trip to the 15-foot line in the last 24 seconds to seal the win.

Mawati failed to win the game in regulation despite dominating most of the match after Bryan Manalon made a 3-point play in the paint to tie the game, 51-all, 12.6 seconds left on the clock. Brabu then used its last foul before entering penalty to foil a Mawati offense and with 1.6 seconds left, the latter ran out of time executing another play, sending the game into overtime.

In the second game, Irish Spring used its advantage in the paint to thwart the young crew of the Fastbreakers, who missed key player Melvin Cadiang in the important game.

Big men Ron Hernandez, Art Trajano, and Bernard Samson combined for 47 of Irish Spring’s total points to help the team advance to the Final Four. The trio teamed up for 10 of Irish Spring’s first 12 points in the fourth canto, turning a slim 40-39 lead to a 52-41 advantage, with less than four minutes left on the clock.

The Fastbreakers, who was scoreless in the first six minutes the first canto, had another dry spell in the fourth period, making only one field goal for more than six minutes off Niko Salem’s fastbreak.

Jack Aranda ended the drought to spark a short run and the Fastbreakers managed to move within 6 points, 48-54, as it pressured the rattled Irish Spring in the ensuing plays. The Fastbreakers continued to hound Irish Spring ball handlers from the backcourt, but Sam Fernandez broke loose and found Trajano cutting to the basket for a rally halting layup.

The Fastbreakers kept on fighting in the last two minutes of the match, but Irish Spring secured the game from the foul line, making 7 free throws.

First Game

Mawati 61 – Reyes 18, Tenepere 19, Avila 9, Serrano 9, Pena 5, Enriquez 4, Ibanes 4.

Brabu Gualo Rai 57 – Jose 13, Dayrit 11, Manalon 11, Galzote 8, Mamaril 6, Mallari 4.

Scoring by quarters: 17-12, 29, 16, 43-32, 51-51, 61-57.

Second Game

Irish Spring 63 – Hernandez 18, Trajano 17, Samson 12, Fernandez 9, Brien 2.

Fastbreakers 55
– Salem 14, Palacios 9, De Leon 8, Taylor 7, Aranda 7, Saturno 4, Manangan 3.

Scoring by quarters: 12-11, 27-28, 40-39, 63-55.

By Roselyn Monroyo

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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