Ol’Aces live for another day


The Ol’Aces’ Freddie Pelisamen pulls up for a running jumper, while Saipan Apparel’s Ben Lisua looks on during the fourth quarter of the Game 1 of their title game in the MIBF caging last Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The champion in the Mariana Islands Basketball Federation’s Inaugural Men’s Outdoor League has to be decided by another game following the Ol’Aces’ 89-68 rout of Saipan Apparel last Thursday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

The Ol’Aces forced a rubber after finishing off Saipan Apparel in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of their title duel. Game 2 was originally scheduled last Friday, but was moved to tomorrow and will start at 7pm. Saipan Apparel holds a twice-to-beat advantage in the championship round after making it to the finals first following its 88-83 come-from-behind win against the Ol’Aces in the winner’s bracket semifinals.

Exactly a week after wasting a double-digit lead and allowing Saipan Apparel to steal the win, the Ol’Aces made sure there would be no letdown on their part in the second meeting. The Ol’Aces were just ahead by a single digit after the third quarter, 66-57, when a 14-4 run gave them the sizeable lead, 80-61, and broke Saipan Apparel’s hopes of finishing the finals early. Jack Lizama, Freddie Pelisamen, and Dan Barcinas nailed two field goals apiece in that breakaway.

Saipan Apparel folded up in the fourth despite threatening the Ol’Aces in the third quarter, which started with the latter ahead by a baker’s dozen, 46-33. Saipan Apparel moved within 5, 57-62, behind Joshua Andrew, Kelvin Fitial, Derrick Rangamar, and Ed Diaz’s baskets.

However, the Ol’Aces regrouped late in the third with Jesus Iguel knocking in the team’s last 4 points to widen the gap anew. Iguel was on target all night, spotting up for long jumpers, as he, Lizama, and Jesse Santos’ perimeter shooting helped the Ol’Aces control the match in the second quarter.

The second canto started with the Ol’Aces on top by only 4, 20-16, before Lizama’s 10-point output in that period handed the team the double-digit lead. Lizama hit four straight baskets in his strong second-quarter showing, while Santos and Iguel added 6 points apiece.

Iguel went on to top-score for the Ol’Aces with his 20 markers, while Lizama and Santos chipped in 16 and 14, respectively. Two other Ol’Aces players finished in twin digits with Dan Barcinas logging 13 and Freddie Pelisamen contributing 10.

Diaz led Saipan Apparel with his 15 markers, but missed all his 3-point attempts in the final canto, while Fitial also struggled in the payoff period, making only a free throw en route to his 12-point performance. Syl Teregeyo was the third Saipan Apparel player to hit double figures with his 13 markers, but was scoreless in the fourth. Ben Lisua, whose 18 points rallied Saipan Apparel against the Ol’Aces in their previous meeting, was held to 6 points.

Ol’Aces 89 – Iguel 20, Lizama 16, Santos 14, Barcinas 13, Pelisamen 10, Libuw 6, Nakashima 6, Palino 2, Villacrusis 2.

Saipan Apparel 68 – Diaz 17, Teregeyo 16, Fitial 11, Andrew 9, Norita 7, Lisua 6, Rangamar 2.

Scoring by quarters: 20-16, 46-33, 66-57, 89-68.

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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