MJD, DFEMS set title showdown


DFEMS’ Gary Cruz, right, is pressured by Pacific Islands Club defenders Mike Espinosa, center, and Ray Babauta during the second quarter of their semis game in the intergovernment/business caging last Monday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

MJD Enterprises and the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services survived their respective down-to-the-wire semis assignments to arrange their title duel in the 2016 IT&E Inter Government/Business Basketball League.

MJD eked out a 92-89 overtime win over T Galleria in the first Final Four tiff last Monday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, while DFEMS pulled off a thrilling 79-78 triumph against Pacific Islands Club in the second game.

Jack Lizama scored 28 points in MJD’s close triumph, including the triple that sent the game in overtime. Credit half of Lizama’s game-tying basket to Douglas Schmidt, who plucked the offensive rebound after Dan Barcinas missed a wide open trey. Schmidt was out of position for the putback and spotted Lizama at the left corner and the latter threw up a prayer, which was answered as his heave went in, with just a second left on the clock.

T Galleria made the inbound from the backcourt and ran out of time to pull up for a shot, forcing the team to play MJD for five more minutes.

In overtime, T Galleria managed to lead by 4 in the opening two minutes of the extension before Matt Duenas knocked in successive baskets to grab the upper hand. Duenas had a string of 7 points after Lizama opened MJD’s scoring with a split, while the latter had a field goal to close out for his team. Schimdt scored the last shot for MJD after going 1-for-2 from the foul line, while T Galleria drew one triple each from Ricardo Dela Cruz and Ivan Devero and a deuce from Junar Guiab.

It was a sorry loss for T Galleria as it had a good chance to win in regulation, leading by two, 80-78, and having the possession, down to the last 14 seconds of the fourth canto. With the clock ticking, MJD was forced to commit back-to-back fouls with the last one sending Ivan Devero to the 15-foot line. Devero missed his first charity and made the second for the 3-point cushion.

MJD sued for time and when the game resumed, Barcinas found himself unmarked and he nonchalantly unloaded a long shot and missed. Fortunately, Schmidt was there for the rebound and Lizama knocked in the equalizer.

In the second semis game, it was Marvin Rabauliman who played the hero’s role for DFEMS.

He drained his patented floater near the foul line for the go-ahead basket, about six seconds left on the clock.

With no timeout left, PIC went for the inbound with Mike Arciaga having the last possession. He also went for a Hail Mary shot and it went in, however, the referees nullified the basket, saying the buzzer had already sounded before Arciaga released the ball.

PIC contested the call and was later asked by league organizers to submit a written appeal if it wanted to protest the crucial decision. The deadline (to submit appeal letter) was set last night, as the MJD-DFEMS title showdown is scheduled for tonight.

DFEMS stole the game from PIC despite falling behind by as much as 16 points in the first half, 48-32.

Four DFEMS players scored in double figures to pull off the come-from-behind win. Joshua Sablan had 19 points, Soani Pua added 15, and Rabauliman and Romeo Iginoef chipped in 13 each.

First Game
MJD 92 — Lizama 28, Schmidt 24, Duenas 17, Barcinas 11, Deleon Guerrero 8, Gapor 2, Bautista 2.
T Galleria 89 — Devero 20, Guiab 15, Talania 14, Esdrelon 13, De Dios 12, Paraiso 6, Dela Cruz 5, Manalo 4.
Scoring by quarters: 15-18, 43-39, 65-56, 81-81, 92-89 (OT).

Second Game
DFEMS 79 — Sablan 19, Pua 15, Rabauliman 13, Iginoef 13, Lisua 9, Manglona 5, George 3, Santos 2.
PIC 78 — Aranda 24, Rabasto 20, Espinosa 9, Arciaga 8, Eroch 7, Babauta 6, Flores 2, Barbo 2.
Scoring by quarters: 14-24, 36-51, 56-64, 79-78.

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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