Nahum, Hagai win last matches in Gen Cup


Joel’s Mark Ibanez, center, is sandwiched by Nahum’s David Cai, left, and Jason Wang during the second half of their game in the Genesis Cup last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Nahum and Hagai closed out the elimination round of the youth division of the Genesis Cup Christian Churches Inter-Color Basketball League with victories in their separate matches last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Nahum pulled off an upset over Joel, 81-75, in the penultimate game in the regular season, while Hagai routed Ezra in the final tiff, 84-41. Nahum finished the double-round robin contest with a 3-5 record to take the No. 4 seeding in the semis, while Joel ended up with a 6-2 record, but is still ranked first, beating Jonah in the tiebreak (head-to-head). Hagai, on the other hand, finally broke into the win column, but is out of the playoff contention, while Ezra wrapped up the elimination with the third-best 4-4 mark.

Hagai snapped its seven-game losing skid after drawing solid games from Teemo Wang, Wynn Brillo, and Stephen Alonzo. Wang scored a game-high 25 points, while Brillo and Alonzo chipped in 18 and 15, respectively.

Wang was on target right at the get-go, dropping 16 points to lift Hagai to a commanding 42-14 halftime advantage against the depleted Ezra, which played without key players Nathan Borromeo and Jerald Santiago. Brillo also contributed in Hagai’s auspicious start, adding 9 markers.

Brillo kept going in the second half, teaming up anew with Wang, while Alonzo also found his rhythm, putting the final touches on Hagai’s lopside win after scoring the team’s last 6 markers.

In the first game, David Cai exploded for 34 points to power Nahum past Joel.

Cai drilled 7 of Nahum’s last 9 points to foil the Andrew Palino-led rally of Joel. Palino had five straight field goals in the homestretch, hoping to save the day for Joel, but Cai disappointed him, while Emmanuel Cobacha also stepped up late in the match, contributing three timely baskets.

Cobacha finished with 25 points to back up Cai, while Joshua Tenorio was the other double figure scorer for Nahum with his 10 markers.

Meanwhile, the semifinals of the youth division will be played on Tuesday with Nahum challenging the top-ranked Joel in the first game and the second-seeded Joel meeting Ezra in the second.

The playoff round in the adults will also start next week with No. 1 Samuel battling Isaiah in the first match on Aug. 4 and No. 4 Ezekiel colliding against No. 5 Caleb in the second quarterfinal tiff. In the two remaining Round of 8 matches set for Aug. 6, the pairings are No. 2 Gideon versus No. 7 Joshua, and No. 3 Jeremiah against No. 6 Daniel.

The two teams that will survive the single-elimination playoffs will duel in the finals scheduled for Aug. 13 at 6pm. The youth division title match is slated on the same day at 7:30pm, while consolation games in both categories will be played on Aug. 11.

First Game
Nahum 81— Cai 34, Cobacha 25, Tenorio 10, Sacdalan 4, Wang 2.
Joel 75 — Palino 24, Ocaya 20, Elchico 14, De Leon 5, Ocanada 4, Cruz 3, Ibanez 2.
Scoring by halves: 39-36, 81-75.

Second Game
Hagai 84 — Wang 23, Brillo 18, Alonzo 15, Chen 10, Gonzales 9, Del Carmen 2.
Ezra 41 — Buno 14, De Jose 10, Hu 6, De Leon 5, Guevarra 4.
Scoring by halves: 42-12, 84-41.

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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