Rollers Black beat sister team Rollers White to win the U11 championship of the Rollers Basketball Association 2021 Spring Madness League last Saturday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.
Coach David John Apatang’s team overhauled a 4-point halftime deficit and leaned on the endgame heroics of Venice Enriquez to capture age group championship with a score of 21-18.
Peyton Pangelinan, Andrei Tenorio, and Leighton Tomakane presided over Rollers White’s dominant first half that saw the team score 12 points as against Rollers Black’s measly 8 markers.
But Rollers Black turned the tables after the halftime buzzer as Enriquez scored all of her 5 points in the second half, including a put-back off a crucial offensive rebound that gave her team the insurance basket with less than a minute to go in the contest.
Apatang praised his players for rising to the occasion and beating their sister team when it counted the most.
“The kids they did amazing. They worked hard in practice. Everything that we trained for in practice they executed on the court. They executed the full-court press exactly how we designed it. The fastbreaks, the passing, the scoring, everything came together. They worked hard but I just want everyone to know though that we are one Rollers. They really had to work hard to beat the Rollers White team.”
He also gave kudos to Enriquez who despite just being 8 years old made clutch shots in the second half.
“First time I saw her I told her ‘OK Venice dribble with your right hand’ and she started doing it and I said ‘Wow!’ and then I said ‘now crossover and dribble with your left hand’ and she did a crossover and dribbled with her left hand. That’s when I knew she’s a little bit more advanced for her age than others,” said Apatang.
Enriquez led Rollers Black with 5 points followed by the 4 points each of Dave Tibayan, Kian Estolas, Lane Laxama, and Finals MVP Jeff Pineda, who also stuffed the stats sheet with 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist and block each.
David Apatang Jr., the Rollers Black coach’s son, led the opposing team with 6 points. Pangelinan and Thonas Lanzo added 4, while Tenorio and Tomakane chipped in a deuce each.
In the awards ceremony immediately following the game, Apatang won Regular Season MVP as well as King of Rebounds (23) and King of Blocks (3). Scoring Champion went to Tibayan (21), while King of Steals and King of Assists went to Pangelinan (10) and Tenorio (3), respectively.
The Rollers Basketball Association 2021 Spring Madness League is under the direction of tournament director Ethan Kwon.
Results of the U14, U17, and U18 will be published in the succeeding issues of the Saipan Tribune.
Rollers Black 21 – Enriquez 5, Tibayan 4, Estolas 4, Pineda 4, Laxama 4.
Rollers White 18 – Apatang 6, Pangelinan 4, Lanzo 4, Tomokane 2, Tenorio 2.
Scoring by halves: 8-12, 21-18.