Island Manpower, Blue Haus enter semis


Island Manpower hung tough in the second half to outlast the Rollers, 77-72, in a playoff game in the 2014 QQ Rent A Car Invitational Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Garapan Basketball Court.

Island Manpower is now in the semifinals and will play top-ranked JP World in the first Final Four pairing tonight at 6:30pm. The defending champion Blue Haus, which eliminated the Hoopaholics in the other playoff match last Wednesday night, 68-58, takes on Toka in the second semis tiff tonight at 8pm.

Ahead by only a hair at the end of first half, 30-29, Island Manpower led by as much as 10 in the third and withstood the Rollers’ repeated rallies. In the fourth quarter, Island Manpower tasted its biggest lead (12), twice 59-47 and 69-57, and again held on against the Rollers’ comeback bids to bag the last semis berth.

The Rollers made a final push when it cut the deficit to 7, 65-72, with Prince Factor leading an 8-3 exchange, going into the last 1:45 of the fourth. Island Manpower then missed on its first offensive set, but Jun Tabora picked up the ball and drilled a point-blanked shot to make it a 9-point game, 74-65, 1:36 remaining on the clock.
Rollers’ C.J. Morales rams into the defense of Island Manpower center Jun Javier during the third quarter of their playoff game in the QQ caging last Wednesday night at the Garapan Basketball Court. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO) Rollers’ C.J. Morales rams into the defense of Island Manpower center Jun Javier during the third quarter of their playoff game in the QQ caging last Wednesday night at the Garapan Basketball Court.
(ROSELYN B. MONROYO)[/caption3
The Rollers refused to give up with Jun Fidelino converting a triple and Island Manpower muffing a couple of shots on a series of possessions on the other end. The Rollers also had a chance to move closer, but went 2-for-4 from the line and got only 2 more points from C.J. Morales, while committing two errors in the homestretch and a missed triple in the final 10 seconds to bid goodbye to the competition. Island Manpower, on the other hand got a split from Cecilio Bisana and a fastbreak basket from Jerome Norita in the last 30 seconds to secure a semis spot.

Bisana finished with a team-high 18 points and the rest of his teammates contributed in the victory that avenged Island Manpower’s 75-80 loss to the Rollers in the regular season.

Factor paced the Rollers with 27 points, while Morales also had double figures, but his 13 markers was way behind the 20-plus points he drilled in the last three games before the playoffs. The lefty guard hit only one 3-point shot and five field goals, as he was often challenged by the heftier Island Manpower defenders.

In the first game, Blue Haus was in control of its playoff match against the Hoopaholics right from the get-go to notch a double-digit winning margin.

Leo Galarse led Blue Haus’ cruise control, firing 20 points, while Bart Demapan and Elmer Esdrelon contributed 15 and 11, respectively in a low-scoring game.

First Game
Blue Haus 68 – Galarse 20, Demapan 15, Esdrelon 11, Berline 6, Devero 5, Barbo 2, Talania 2.
Hoopaholics 58 – Lauron 14, Fitial 12, Manibusan 10, Villacrusis 5, Itibus 4, Diaz 3, Cabrera 2, Mendez 2.
Scoring by quarters: 14-9, 31-12, 49-43, 68-58.

Second Game
Island Manpower 77 – Bisana 18, Tabora 11, Capalad 9, Javier 7, Lizama 6, Norita 6, Teregeyo 5, Kaipat 4, Tobias 3, Libuw 2, Hernaez 2.
Rollers 72 – Factor 27, Morales 13, Fidelino 8, Espinosa 7, Cayading 7, Arciaga 4, Nakayama 2.
Scoring by quarters: 16-11, 30-29, 56-47, 77-72.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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