TanHoldings, Mariana Resort ease into semis


Mariana Resort defenders surround Star Water’s Melvin Gallardo during the first quarter of their playoff game in the JEM/Mobil caging last Friday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Top 2 seeds TanHoldings and Mariana Resort are one step away from setting up their anticipated title duel in the JEM Company Ltd./Mobil Customer Appreciation Basketball League.

TanHoldings marched into the semifinals after coasting past Commonwealth Utilities Corp., 88-65, last last Friday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium, while Mariana Resort gained the last Final Four berth after a similar easy victory over Star Water, 93-59.

Mariana Resort, which was still unbeaten in the competition and finished second behind TanHoldings in the rankings going into the playoffs, broke Star Water’s any hopes for an upset after posting the 34-point winning margin, thanks to the former’s 36-point explosion in the third quarter.

Star Water was still facing a manageable deficit at the start of the third canto, 24-35, when Mariana Resort’s offense went into full gear to break the game wide open, 71-42. Prince Factor dropped 8 of his 14 points in that pivotal quarter, while Mel Sakisat, Frank Lifoifoi, and Jun Fidelino scored three field goals apiece to demolish Star Water.

Fidelino led four Mariana Resort players in double figures with his 19 points. Sakisat chipped in 15, while Frank Lifoifoi contributed 10. Three other players of the Thompson Palik-coached Mariana Resort combined for 22 more markers.

Melvin Gallardo had 17 points on a losing effort for Star Water, which kept pace with Mariana Resort in the first quarter, 14-17, but proved to be no match to its foe’s potent offense the rest of the way.

In the curtain-raiser, TanHoldings’ solid offense was also in full display, as it pounded CUC in the fourth canto.

CUC was very much in the game, as it was down by only 8, 55-63, after Eugene Manglona opened the payoff frame with 5 straight points. However, TanHoldings countered with a back-breaking 17-0 run in a span of about five minutes to finish off CUC.

Douglas Schmidt buried three triples and scored 11 points in that rally, which was snapped by a Travis Spaeth’s point-blanked shot down to the last there minutes and change of the match. Paul Quizon then hit back-to-back treys to put the icing on the cake, as TanHoldings arranged a semis duel against the upset-minded McDonald’s.

McDonald’s, which stunned two higher seeds foes to make it to the Final Four, will challenge the unbeaten TanHoldings tonight at 6:30pm. In the other semis pairing at 8pm, it will be Mariana Resort versus Best Deal/RNV Construction. Winners of tonight’s games will battle in a best-of-three title series that will begin on Wednesday.

First Game
TanHoldings 88 — Schmidt 24, Demapan 19, Esdrelon 16, Quizon 10, Nonato 7, Duenas 4, Pablo 4, Macoto 4, Vilamena 2.

CUC 65 — Manglona 23, Simada 15, Spaeth 10, Lieto 5, Pestillos 4, Mira 4, Poquiz 3.

Scoring by quarters: 25-17, 38-38, 63-50, 88-65.

Second Game
Mariana Resort 93 — Fidelino 19, Sakisat 17, Factor 14, F. Lifoifoi 10, J. Lifoifoi 9, Kani 7, James 6, Kitani 4, Prado 3, Ermitanio 2.

Star Water 59 — Gallardo 17, Santos 11, Dizon 10, Brel 9, Ombac 4, Gaviola 2.

Scoring by quarters: 17-14, 35-24, 71-42, 93-59.

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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