Pasion De Amor knocked out Hard Kulangot, 90-75, last Saturday at the Navy Hill Court to enter the semifinals of the 2015 Blue Haus/IT&E Inter-Color Basketball League.
Pasion De Amor now joins Makalaro Lang and Mamba to the next round, while Hard Kulangot went into the showers along with Purple Rain.
Elmer Esdrelon sizzled for 40 points in Pasion De Amor’s playoff win, as he waxed hot from downtown, firing six triples. He started and ended the match with shots from beyond the arc to lead all scorers. The Pasion De Amor team captain also got enough support from the returning Bart Demapan and Chris Arreza, who finished in double figures with 21 and 15, respectively.
Demapan, who missed Pasion De Amor’s last game in the elimination round which could have given the squad the outright semis berth had it won over Oh My J, provided his team the advantage in the paint, especially after Hard Kulangot big man Marlon De Dios was thrown out of the match.
De Dios was ejected from the game in the closing minutes of the third period after figuring in a fight against Pasion De Amor’s Nestor Arreza. The two players were jockeying for position in the shaded lane for the rebound play when they got tangled up and threw a swing at each other. Nestor Arreza was also ejected from the playoff match.
De Dios left the court after scoring 14 points and Hard Kulangot was very much in the game down by just 4 points, 61-57. Pasion De Amor went on to stretch the lead to 7 at the end of the third canto with Esdrelon canning back-to-back triples.
The margin ballooned to twin digits in the fourth frame when Chris Arreza’s guns were blazing in the opening minutes, as he drilled 9 of Pasion De Amor’s first 11 markers. Hard Kulangot never made a serious comeback bid from thereon, while Esdrelon iced the win with another triple at the buzzer.
Meanwhile, Red Rice and Oh My J contested the last semis berth in the inaugural league and results of last Sunday’s playoff match will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Wednesday edition. The four semifinalists will battle for the two finals berth this weekend with the pairings to be determined via draw.
Pasion De Amor 90 – Esdrelon 40, Demapan 21, C. Arreza 15, Pestillas 8, N. Arreza 6.
Hard Kulangot 75 – Barrios 21, De Dios 14, Ibanez 8, Pollisco 8, Cultura 4, Ebuen 4, Garcia 4.
Scoring by quarters: 23-19, 49-36, 70-63, 90-75.