Pacific Islands Club Saipan and Shirley’s-Century Hotel try to outsmart each other in the knockout title match in the 2014 the Budweiser Inter-Hotel Basketball League tonight at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Game time is at 7:30pm after the two games played in the ongoing Basketball Association of the Northern Mariana Islands Youth Basketball League.
Both teams, which had to wait for more than one week to finally settle the score, are hoping to end the season with the title in tow with Shirley’s also aiming to avenge its sorry 75-73 loss to PIC in the elimination round.
PIC finished the single-elimination round tied with Fiesta Resort with 5-1 slates, but the latter beat the former to clinch the top ranking. Shirley’s ended up fourth behind World Resort.
Former Saipan Southern High School standouts Jack Aranda and Bryl Alegre are expected to lead PIC’s title bid after posting double-digit averages in the playoffs.
Aranda was the most consistent PIC cager with a 19.3 points per game average in the playoff round that included a 20-point explosion in an 89-55 demolition of Fiesta Resort, while Alegre normed 14.6 markers per outing.
Veterans James Abuy and Darwin Barbo and another SSHS alumnus Jun Del Rosario are expected to provide additional scoring support.
Abuy logged in 12 points per game in the playoffs and even scored 23 in the South team’s 93-91 decision over the Northern squad in last week’s Inter-Hotel All-Start match.
The Shirley’s trio of Shawn Rabasto, Rommel Usi, and Erick Dela Rosa are hoping to counter PIC’s offensive production to complete their own title bid.
Rabasto and Usi had a combined per game average of 26.9 points in the playoffs with the former also acting up as the guiding force in Shirley’s offensive plays.
Dela Rosa, meanwhile, averaged 12.3 a game in the playoff round and even scored 14 in Shirley’s 72-65 victory over World Resort in the semifinals. (Jon Perez)