PIC foils Armatech’s comeback bid

Pacific Islands Club Saipan overcame a sluggish start and hung tough in the end to defeat Armatech, 78-75, in the only game played in the IT&E Emon Masonic Lodge No. 179 Mixed Masters Brotherhood Basketball League last Monday at Koblerville Gymnasium.

PIC’s gunners struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first quarter, as only four of its players scored in that period. On the other hand, June Alipio Jr. and Ed Cosino each tallied 6 points in the first canto to hand Armatech a 22-12 lead.

With his team down by 10 points to open the second quarter, Paulo Rafols upped the ante and went on a scoring spree, making 11 out of PIC’s 16 markers in that frame. Armatech was clearly caught off guard by Rafols’ outburst, but hung on to the driver’s seat at the break, 33-28.

However, Armetch eventually lost the upper hand, as James Abuy and Raymond Tolentino caught fire for PIC in the third period after being ice cold in the first half. Abuy set the tempo for the rest of his team after hitting 13 points in the third quarter, including three 3-pointers. Tolentino was right in step with Abuy from deep, drilling two 3 pointers of his own after being held scoreless in the first 20 minutes of play

While PIC’s snipers were finding their mark in the third period, Armatech’s gunners continued to struggle offensively, as they scored just 12 points. With PIC on target, it turned the table on Armatech and took a 10-point advantage, 57-47, entering the final canto.

After a subpar showing in the second and third quarters, Armatech roared back with a 28-point fourth quarter explosion. Armatech played selfless basketball and zipped the ball to open teammates, as eight players were able to contribute to the late surge. However, PIC Saipan withstood Armatech’ rally with Rafols converting four free throws in the homestretch to go with his earlier 5 markers in the fourth canto and Abuy and Butch Sublemented combining for 10 points.

“The key to maintaining our lead was to not give up. As long as the time is moving, we keep on moving. The game is over when the final buzzer sounds,” PIC coach Ronald Quindoza said. “We have to focus and watch each other’s back. That’s what we call teamwork.”

Rafols spearheaded PIC’s victory with his 29 points. Abuy and Sublemente also finished in twin digits with 19 and 12, respectively.

Armatech’s good ball movement resulted in four players scoring in double digits. Alipio led Armatech with his 14 markers, Cosino added 12, and Lauron and Montano made 10 points apiece.

With the win, PIC now boasts a league best 5-1 record, while Armatech dipped below .500 with a 2-3 slate.

Meanwhile, the second game featuring Imperial Pacific International versus PEGS never got to the opening tip, as the former lacked players for the nightcap. With the loss, IPI remains winless in five games, while PEGS is on the upswing with its 3-1 card.

PIC 78 — Rafols 29, Abuy 19, Sublemente 11, Norita 7, Tolentino 6, Mojar 2, Hernandez 2, Ra basto 2.

Armatech 75 — Alipio 14, Cosino 12, Lauron 10, Montano 10, Martin 8, Tolosa 7, Gaviola 5, Malasarte 5, Asuhan 2, Zapanta 2.

Scoring by quarters: 12-21, 28-33, 57-47, 78-75.

Roby N. Pamintuan Author

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