Jun Estolas and Bart Demapan played stellar games to power Mobil to an easy 88-75 playoff win over NVM in the 2012 Blue Haus Invitational League last Sunday night at the Garapan Basketball Court.
The win allowed Mobil to set a semis date against DLX, which crushed Hip Hop Thunder, 71-47, in their rain-delayed playoff tiff in the first game, also last Sunday.
Estolas showed no respect for NVM’s defense, as he dribbled his way out of trouble and either made tough shots or dished it out to open teammates for several baskets in the paint. Estolas, who was hounded by youthful Melvin Cadiang in the first three quarters before Jawn Joyner took over from the latter midway in the fourth, finished with 17 points. No official statistics on assists were recorded in the match, but Estolas made at least 10 feeds.
Demapan, on the other hand, had a game-high 24 markers and was the recipient of the drive-and-draw plays of Estolas. The Mobil forward also hit a couple of pull-up jumpers and collared rebounds, making life harder for NVM defenders.
NVM, which is bannered by former members of the CNMI National Team, kept up with Mobil only in the first quarter, as the former had troubles finding the right combination on the floor. NVM also did not challenge most of Mobil’s shots and since the former concentrated on stopping Estolas, it forgot the latter’s other players, who were left wide open either at the baseline or outside.
Big men Jorge De Guzman and Gyles Ruluked earned most of their baskets from the baseline. Sahj Hossain, Angelo Fernando, Brian Ajoste, and Jason Bahillo also contributed at least 5 points each, as Mobil coach Marvin Deocares did a great job in rotating his players.
Mobil led by only 4 after the first period, 20-16, but began pulling away in the second canto when it held NVM to only three field goals in the first six minutes of that quarter en route to a 47-37 halftime advantage.
The lead ballooned to 18 after the third, 70-52, as Demapan, who finished with 12 points in the first half, added 9 more at the start of the second half and Hossain came off the bench and chipped in 6.
NVM sliced the deficit to as low as 14 early in the fourth, 60-74, but Mobil made back-to-back layups to stop the mini rally en route to the easy victory.
Meanwhile, in the first game, DLX limited the Hip Hop Thunder to 4 points in the third quarter to seize control of the match and earn the third semis ticket.
The Thunder was catching up with DLX, down by only four at the break, 32-36, when it rained and the game took about 30 minutes to resume. The lull halted Hip Hop Thunder’s momentum, while DLX got the needed breather to spark its third-quarter breakaway.
DLX drained 20 points at the resumption of the match with Leo Galarse and Elmer Esdrelon firing 7 markers each in the rally to lift their team to a big 56-36 lead. Only Raymark Castro and Gino Libuw scored for the Thunder in the third period.
Ivan Devero, who was held to 4 points in the first three quarters, nailed the Thunder’s first 6 points, but it was not enough to bring their team back in the game, as DLX hung tough in the finale.
Devero was the only double figure scorer for DLX with his 10 markers. Jomary Tumaquip, who had 18 points in their playoff win over Saipan Hardware, was limited to a deuce.
Junar Guiab had 16 for DLX, which plays Mobil in the second semis game this Thursday at 8pm. In the first Final Four pairing at 6:30pm, Ashley’s faces QQ Rent A Car.
DLX 71 – Guiab 16, Esdrelon 14, David 10, Galarse 9, Barbo 8, Pineda 4, Trajano 3, Fernandez 3, Abedes 2.
Hip Hop Thunder 47 – I. Devero 10, Sacramento 9, C. Devero 6, Castro 6, Libuw 5, D Mateo 5, Omnez 2, Durant 2, Tumaquip 2.
Scoring by quarters: 18-13, 36-32, 56-36, 71-47.
Mobil 88 – Demapan 24, Estolas 17, Hossain 11, Ruluked 9, De Guzman 8, Fernando 7, Ajoste 5, Bahillo 5.
NVM 73 – Cadiang 18, Barcinas 14, Joyner 13, Mendiola 10, Basa 7, Je. Mina 5, Manibusan 5, Ritual 2.
Scoring by quarters: 20-16, 47-37, 70-52, 88-73.
By Roselyn Monroyo