Mourning Team Kio nips Rampage, 73-71


Team Kio, shown here posing for a group photo in this file photo, played shorthanded following the death of a teammate but still beat Rampage in the Island-wide Men’s BudLight Basketball League last Friday at the Tinian Multi-Purpose Gymnasium. (Contributed Photo)

Team Kio bucked the absence of several key players following the untimely passing of a teammate and a brother to several players to edge Rampage, 73-71, in the Island-wide Men’s BudLight Basketball League last Friday at the Tinian Multi-Purpose Gymnasium.

The Sablan brothers—Dustin, Bing, Paka, and their half-brother Kim King—didn’t suit up following the death of their brother Kioni from liver cancer. However, the team rallied around their namesake and pulled out a gutsy win despite having only seven players available throughout the game.

Rampage controlled the game early and went up, 23-21, after the first 10 minutes of action as Jayron Epity and Vinny Untalan knocked in 8 points apiece.

Robert Reyes kept Kio in the game in the second quarter after firing 11 points as the teams went into the halftime break all squared up at 37-37.

Lucio Sanchez took over the scoring reins from Reyes at the start of the second half, scoring 10 points of his own as Kio managed to take the lead, 60-56, going into the final 10 minutes of the contest. Kio’s run came despite Wesley Walker scattering 8 points in the period.

The fourth and final quarter continued to be a nip-and-tuck affair. The tide turned, however, when Rampage’s Rudy Borja got a technical foul for rough play that allowed Kio to eventually escape with the 2-point win, which raised its record to 10-0, while exacting Rampage its second loss in 10 matches..

Reyes shone all game long for the mourning Kio squad with 32 big points, while Sanchez chipped in 20 points of his own. Rampage was led by the 26 markers of Walker with Epity contributing 18 points in the loss.

In the second game, Ko’Bees outlasted Team CNMI, 69-66, in a hot and intense game that had a lot of physical plays and trash talking from both teams. To keep control of the game, officials had to call technical fouls on a couple of Ko’Bees and Team CNMI players.

The win allowed Ko’Bees to extricate itself from the cellar at 3-7, while it was the sixth loss in 10 outings for Team CNMI.

Games last night were cancelled after rainwater seeped through the Tinian Multi-Purpose Gymnasium.

“Due to the court being flooded, wet, slippery, and for the safety of the players, the games have been cancelled. [Department of Community and Cultural Affairs] staff tried their very best to mop up the water but it kept on leaking,” said organizers in a social media post.

First Game
Team Kio 73 – Reyes 32, Sanchez 20, Cruz 14, Cabrera 7.

Rampage 71 – Walker 26, J. Epity 18, Untalan 16, Pascua 4, Cepeda 3, Erickson 2, Borja 2.

Scoring by quarters: 21-23, 37-37, 60-56, 73-71.

Second Game
Ko’Bees 69 – Jay 16, Slim 15, Miklo 11, Haropol 11, Cross 10, Stanley 6.

Team CNMI 66 – A. Borja 25, Maligson 18, D. Borja 9, E. Borja 6, Lizama 4, Monkeya 3.

Scoring by quarters: 20-10, 35-26, 56-50, 69-66.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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