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Rollers Black win away from U11 title

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Rollers Black players pose for a group photo following their win in Game 1 of their best-of-three championship series against Rollers White in the U11 division of the 2021 NMI Rollers Basketball Association Spring Madness tournament last Saturday. (Dave Apatang)

Rollers Black is a win away from clinching the U11 championship of the 2021 NMI Rollers Basketball Association Spring Madness after edging Rollers White, 21-16, in Game 1 of finals last Saturday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

Rollers Black’s Dan Tibayan led the way with 7 points with help from Kion Estolas and Jeff Pineda who added 6 and 5 points, respectively. Lance Laxamana contributed 4 points.

Rollers White gave their opponent a run for their money, but at the end Rollers Black proved to be the team to beat after picking up the momentum in the second half of the match.

In the first half, Rollers White kept a close tail on Rollers Black, concluding the first half of the match just 2 points behind, 5-7.

Rollers Black secured the win in the second half with 14 points. Estolas helped seal the win by scoring all his 6 points in the final half, while Tibayan contributed 4 points. Pineda and Laxamana each made a basket to ensure the team’s win.

Rollers White’s David Apatang Jr. carried the team with his 10 points, while Leighton Tomokane and Andrei Tenorio added 2 points apiece.

Rollers Black coach Dave Apatang said both teams showed great promise to make the first game of the best-of-three championship series a great one. Apatang added that although his team won the first match of the series, they will continue to improve before Game 2.

“We were fortunate enough to come out with the first win. Team Black can’t get comfortable because Team White has some really talented players. Our plan is to focus on our tough defense and team basketball. Regardless, we are one team and Rollers youth basketball is thriving,” he said

The second game of the U11 championship will be held next Saturday, March 13, at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

Rollers Black 21 – Tibayan 7, Estolas 6, Pineda 5, Laxamana 4.
Rollers White 16 – Apatang 10, Tomokane 2, Tenorio 2, Ayuyu 1.
Scoring by halves: 7-5, 21-16.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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