Southern takes boys HS cage title


Saipan Southern High School’s Roberto Paragados, left, challenges the defense of two Kagman High School players during the third quarter of Game 1 of their title duel in the PSS caging last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Saipan Southern High School had enough gas left on its tank to fuel up its offense in the deciding Game 2 en route to a convincing 61-49 victory over Kagman High School in the boys finals of the 2016 Public School System Basketball Tournament last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Jun Alipio and Greg Sablan, who missed important shots in their sorry loss to Kagman in Game 1, 50-51, both scored in double figures in Game 2 to redeem themselves and power the Manta Rays to the title win. Alipio drilled a team-high 19 points, with majority of them made in the second period where Southern managed to take control of the match. Sablan chipped in 15, 12 of them came in the final half that the Manta Rays dominated.

While Southern had its key players stepping up in Game 2, Kagman missed its main man, Jeff Castro, who was not able to play in the deciding match due to cramps. Fatigue took its toll on Castro and a few more Ayuyus as they played their third straight game with only 10 to 15 minutes break after each match. Overall, Kagman had four matches last Saturday, while Southern played three, but had a long break before the back-to-back games in the finals.

With Castro out, Jeremy Agulto and Jose Quitano tried to provide the needed offense for Kagman and they were successful at the start, lifting the Ayuyus to a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, Southern grabbed the upper hand in the second canto, thanks to Alipio’s 15 points. The lefty wingman got his offense going in the second frame, as he managed to stay out of foul trouble. In Game 1, he was saddled with two quick fouls in the first quarter, forcing him to spend a lot of time on the bench.

Alipio ended the second period with 5 straight points to power Southern to a 33-22 halftime edge. He also scored the first basket in the third frame, while Sablan knocked in 8 consecutive points in the penultimate quarter to keep the Manta Rays’ double-digit lead, 49-38, going into the final 10 minutes of play.

Southern went on to protect its twin-digit advantage in the fourth quarter, as Kagman did not have enough firepower to overhaul the deficit with Castro riding the bench.

Aaron Ogumoro, who relieved the cramping Castro in the closing seconds of Game 1, had 20 points in a losing effort for Kagman.

SSHS 61— Alipio 19, Sablan 15, Siech 8, Kapileo 5, Paragados 4, Villanueva 4, Santos 3, Cobacha 3.

Kagman 49 — Ogumoro 20, Agulto 10, Blake 5, Quitano 4, Naputi 4, Reyes 4, Quitugua 2.

Scoring by quarters: 10-14, 33-22, 49-38, 61-49.

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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