Rollers Black forces rubber match in U17

Posted on Apr 15 2021

Rollers Black’s Steve King pulls up from 3-point territory against the outstretched hand of Ol’Aces’ Matthew Lucas in Game 1 of the U17 championship of the Rollers Basketball Association 2021 Spring Madness League last Sunday at the Koblerville Gymnasium. (Mark Rabago)

Steve King made two straight triples in the last 45 seconds to lead Rollers Black to a pulsating 56-50 win against Ol’Aces in the U17 championship game of the Rollers Basketball Association 2021 Spring Madness League last Sunday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

Needing to win the game to force a winner-take-all Game 2 in the finals, Rollers Black led majority of the game until a late rally by Ol’Aces almost forced overtime.

With Rollers Black leading by 3 points, 50-47,with less than a minute to go in the game, Ol’Aces guard Airson Atan rose up from a confusing half-court set and pulled up from rainbow country and tied the score.

Ol’Aces’ celebration proved short-lived though, as Rollers Black didn’t panic and inbounded the ball and in a semi-fastbreak saw King set up from the right corner where he unleashed a 3-point bomb from what seemed like 25 feet that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to give his team a 53-50 lead.

The Stephen Curry-wannabee—he wears the Baby-faced Assassin’s familiar No. 30—followed up that trifecta with 45 seconds to go by rebounding a crucial Ol’Aces miss and then dribbled past half court before burying another cold-blooded 3-pointer from farther out to put the game out of reach with 27 ticks left on the game clock.

With the victory, the Rollers Black of coach Joe Diaz lived another day by erasing elimination round top-notcher Ol’Aces’ twice-to-beat advantage in the finals. The two teams will square off again for all the marbles on Saturday, April 17, 12:30pm still at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

King paced Rollers Black in the cardiac win with 22 points on top of 4 rebounds and three steals. Anthony Lahara ably backed him up by tossing 15 points of his own while also hauling down 4 boards and blocking 2 shots. Also finishing in double figures for Rollers Black was Leopoldo Naraja who wound up contributing 12 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist.

Despite the sorry loss, Ol’Aces got an all-around game from Craig Padayao, who had 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Atan was the only other double-figure scorer for Ol’Aces with 15 markers. He also grabbed 3 rebounds, dished out twice, and stole the ball once.

Rollers Black 56 – King 22, Lahara 15, Naraja 12, Claridados 3, Pelisamen 2, Diaz 2.

Ol’Aces 50 – Padayao 16, Atan 15, Fiden 4, Basa 4, Wabol 3, Lucas 2.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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