Saipan Vegas Elite ends skid

Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan’s Guine Borja, left, looks at her target first before going for a shot against a CTSI defender during their game in the 2017 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament yesterday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Saipan Vegas Elite finally broke into the win column in the 2017 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament after slipping past Saipan Vegas Extreme, 58-57, yesterday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Duncan Laxa made baskets in streaks in the closing minutes of the second half, while Kent Ogasawara and Oldie Roligat also scored in the homestretch to give Saipan Vegas Elite its first victory in four games. Saipan Vegas Extreme is still winless after four matches to remain at the bottom of the team standings in the eight-squad boys division.

Laxa had 7 straight points in the second half and finished with a game-high 17 markers. Ogasawara added 9, including Saipan Vegas Elite’s last field goal, while Roligat made a free throw to go with his one basket. Timmy Pangelinan, Traven Quitugua, Alam Olopai, and Gregory Deleon Guerrero combined for 20 more points for Saipan Vegas Elite.

In the girls division’s first game, Marianas Variety also snapped its three-game losing skid following a close 42-41 win over IT&E.

Quina Flores nailed back-to-back baskets, while Hyo Lim Cho, Mikky Kautz, and Tawnie Manibusan converted one field goal apiece to hand Marianas Variety the close victory—only the team’s second in five games.

Kautz paced Marianas Variety with her 17 points, while Manibusan also had twin digits with 14, as their squad moved up to solo fourth place in the team standings behind the unbeaten GSM Lady Ol’Aces (5-0), Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan (4-1), and CTSI (3-2). CTSI was playing Fiesta Resort in the other girls division game last night and results of the match were unavailable at press time.

Also scheduled to play last night were the 670 Sonics XVIII (3-1) and Kanoa Resort (3-1) in the boys division.

Elimination games will resume tomorrow with Saipan Vegas Elite aiming for its second win as it challenges the undefeated M&M Salas Ol’Aces (4-0) in the first tiff at 5pm. In the second game at 6pm, it will be the GSM Lady Ol’Aces versus IT&E, while the last two matches will have Marianas Variety facing Shirley’s Coffee Shop at 7pm, and 670 Sonics XVI dueling Saipan Vegas Extreme at 8pm.

The boys division has a round-robin format in the elimination, while format for the girls field is double round. After the elimination, only the Top 4 teams in each division will advance to the playoffs, which will begin on Jan. 27.

First Game
Saipan Vegas Elite 58 — Laxa 17, Ogasawara 9, Pangelinan 6, T. Quitugua 6, Deleon Guerrero 4, Olopai 4, Elchico 3, N. Quitugua 3, Roligat 3.
Saipan Vegas Extreme 57 — Atan 13, Laniyo 10, King 9, Menchor 5, Naraja 4, Okaruru 4, Tisa 4, Kim 4, Norita 2, Lahara 2.
Scoring by halves: 35-32, 58-57.

Second Game
Marianas Variety 42 — Kautz 17, Manibusan 14, Flores 6, Reyes 3, Cho 2.
IT&E 41 — Jerlyn Castillo 11, Garon 8, Pena 6, Hemley 6, Ocampo 4, Jeraldine Castillo 3, Lumabi 3.
Scoring by halves: 28-22, 42-41.

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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