Shirley’s, MBI set finals duel MBI

Shirley’s Coffee Shop’s Matt Duenas unloads a baseline jumper against Joeten’s Alex Lauron during their semis game in the JP World caging last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Shirley’s Coffee Shop’s Matt Duenas unloads a baseline jumper against Joeten’s Alex Lauron during their semis game in the JP World caging last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Shirley’s Coffee Shop and Micronesian Brokers, Inc. arranged a finals date in the 2014 JP World Corp. Customer Appreciation Basketball League after eliminating separate foes last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

MBI/Anchor clinched the first finals berth after pulling off a come-from-behind 69-64 win over Public School System, while Shirley’s booked the last championship ticket, following a 91-82 triumph against Joeten. MBI/Anchor and Shirley’s begin their best-of-three title showdown tonight at 7pm.

Shirley’s advanced to the finals and extended its winning run in the league to nine after withstanding Joeten’s fourth-quarter fightback.

Joeten fell behind by as much as 25 points, 60-85, with 6:16 left in the fourth, but threatened Shirley’s, bringing the deficit down to single digit, 79-87. Joeten launched a 19-2 run to remain in contention, holding Shirley’s scoreless for about four minutes before Lerio Pagarao ended the latter’s silence with a point-blanked shot off Sean Rabasto’s feed.

Kevin De Leon, Alex Lauron, and Syl Teregeyo teamed up in that Joeten rally with the latter capping the run with an offensive rebound off the former’s miss free throw and making the putback, while drawing foul on Shirley’s Vince Manibusan. Teregeyo muffed the bonus shot, but Joeten got another chance to move closer when Vince Manibusan failed to bring Shirley’s lead back to double digit after missing both charities. However, Teregeyo was too deep under the basket when he received the past from De Leon on a fastbreak play and lost the leather.

Shirley’s regained possession and sealed the win after making four free throws and milking the clock, which was then down to 1:34. Pagarao drilled two free throws to up Shirley’s lead anew to 10 and Elmer Esdrelon and Matt Duenas had splits. Joeten hit only one basket after the 19-2 spurt with Ferdie Tobias converting a triple from the left key.

Pagarao top-scored for Shirley’s with his 19 points and four of his teammates also recorded twin digits. Duenas had 17, Esdrelon chipped in 16, and Rabasto and Erick Dela Rosa contributed 14 and 10, respectively.

Alex Lauron led Joeten with his 24 points, while De Leon tallied 22, but failed to nail his outside shots in the second and third quarters after a strong first period, allowing Shirley’s to enter the fourth canto with a 75-54 advantage.

In the first semis game, MBI/Anchor converted clutch free throws to escape with the 5-point win.

MBI/Anchor scored its last 5 markers from the 15-foot line with Art Trajano and White Capalad drilling a pair and Ivan Devero making a split.

Devero paced MBI/Anchor with his 25 points, 10 of them came in the fourth quarter, which started with PSS slightly ahead, 46-41. PSS eventually lost the driver’ seat and the important game, as it committed several fouls and MBI/Anchor turned them into points. MBI/Anchor recorded 12 of their 28 points in the fourth period from the stripe.

Mel Manibusan led PSS’ losing cause, firing 23 points, while Waltez Mendez and Jerry Diaz scattered 14 and 10, respectively. PSS played without its main gunner Preston Basa, who was nursing a foot injury he sustained during their elimination game against McDonald’s last month.

First Game
MBI/Anchor 69 – Devero 25, Fernando 13, Capalad 12, Lizama 6, Trajano 4, Viola 2, Zapanta 2.

PSS 64 – Manibusan 23, Mendez 12, Diaz 10, Villacrusis 7, Itibus 4, Villagomez 4, Coldeen 2.

Scoring by quarters: 14-10, 25-30, 41-46, 69-64.

Second Game
Shirley’s 91 – Pagarao 19, Duenas 17, Esdrelon 16, Rabasto 14, Dela Rosa 10, Manibusan 4, Usi 2, Drilon 2.

Joeten 82 – Lauron 24, De Leon 22, Teregeyo 9, Kwon 9, Sambile 5, Tobias 7, Jas. Sablan 2, Borja 2.

Scoring by quarters: 30-22, 47-33, 75-54, 91-82.

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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