Saipan Vegas joined IT&E and The Game on top of the team standings in the Atkins Kroll Marianas International Basketball League following an 88-84 win over Bridge Capital last Friday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
Saipan Vegas had a jackrabbit start to notch its second victory in as many games and force a three-way tie for the early lead in the 10-team field, while Bridge Capital has yet to make it to the win column after two matches.
A 31-point explosion in the first quarter handed Saipan Vegas the early double-figure lead and made Bridge Capital play catch-up all night. Preston Basa was on target from downtown in the first quarter, as he knocked in three triples and finished the period with 11 points. Aiferson Atan added 9, while Jack Lizama chipped in 6 in his first game in the league to lift Saipan Vegas to a 31-15 advantage.
Besides Basa’s three triples, Saipan Vegas drew one apiece from Atan and Douglas Schmidt, while Bridge Capital made only one shot from the parking lot, courtesy of Freddie Pelisamen.
After the so-so start, Bridge Capital’s offense improved in the second quarter, as Matt Duenas got some help from his teammates. However, Bridge Capital had problems defending Coby Santos, who took over from Basa and delivered 11 points in the second frame to keep Saipan Vegas in front at the break, 52-38.
Santos slowed down in the third quarter, as he made only one field goal in the penultimate canto. However, Basa, who had limited minutes in the second quarter, showed up anew in the third and added two more triples, allowing Saipan Vegas to retain the double-digit spread, 70-55. Six other Saipan Vegas players also scored in the third period for the squad’s 15-point lead, heading into the last 10 minutes of play.
With only one quarter left and Bridge Capital in danger of absorbing another loss, it made its move in the payoff canto and rallied. Leroy Rangamar and Pelisamen teamed up in Bridge Capital’s comeback bid with the former hitting four triples and the latter drilling 7 points. However, Bridge Capital fell short and Saipan Vegas settled for the 4-point victory.
Santos led four Saipan Vegas players in double figures with his 18 points. Basa contributed 17, while Atan had 11, and Schmidt finished with 10 and had a triple double, as he also recorded 10 assists and 11 rebounds.
Pelisamen and Matt Duenas top-scored for Bridge Capital with 18 points each, but the latter struggled in the second half after registering only three field goals.
Saipan Vegas 88—Santos 18, P. Basa 17, Atan 11, Schmidt 10, Bondoc 6, Lizama 6, Onopwy 4, Rabauliman 4, Sablan 4, Deleon Guerrero 4, E. Basa 2.
Bridge Capital 84—M. Duenas 18, Pelisamen 18, Rangamar 12, Santos 11, Lizama 6, Cabaltica 5, E. Duenas 4, Rogolifoi 4, Teregeyo 4, Camacho 2.
Scoring by quarters: 31-15, 52-38, 70-55, 88-84.