TDI sets up finals duel with Joeten 1


Top Development, Inc.’s Raymond Velasco, center, is up against RNV Best Deal defenders Ariel Baul, left, and Ryan Odicta during Game 1 of their semis series in the JP World caging at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Top Development Inc., secured the second finals ticket in the 2018 JP World Corp. Customer Appreciation Basketball League after beating RNV Best Deal, 99-87, in Game 2 of their best-of-three semis series last Saturday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Raymond Velasco powered TDI to a finals stint after firing 26 points, as they completed a sweep of the short series. Sean Rabasto and Jerome Reyes scored 20 points apiece to back up Velasco, while Darwin Barbo added 17 in the Game 2 victory that set TDI’s title showdown against Joeten 1. The best-of-three finals series will start this Saturday.

While TDI needed an extra five minutes to down RNV Best Deal in Game 1, 124-122, the former had an easier time defeating its opponents in Game 2. TDI led from start to finish, as the quartet of Velasco, Rabasto, Barbo, and Reyes teamed up in the clincher.

Velasco knocked in two triples and made 10 markers in the first period, while Reyes added 6 to hand TDI a 30-26 lead. Velasco was then held to one field goal in the second frame, but Barbo and Rabasto were there to steady the ship, combining for 14 markers to give TDI the double-digit margin at the break, 53-43.

Rabasto was still at it at the resumption of the game, making two triples and 8 points, while Barbo, Reyes, and Velasco also hit multiple baskets to keep TDI on top, 81-70, going into the fourth and final quarter.

RNV Best Deal never made headway in the last period, as Ronald Rueda, who finished the third canto with 30 points, was held to 3 points and the team just traded baskets with TDI.

With the loss, RNV Best Deal will just play in the consolation game against Triple J this Saturday at 6pm. Game 1 of the finals series between TDI and Joeten 1 will start at 7pm.

TDI 99—Velasco 26, Rabasto 20, Reyes 20, Barbo 17, Sefich 8, Pollisco 7.
RNV Best Deal 87—R. Rueda 33, Agustin 15, Mortos 12, Baul 8, Taraya 6, Tagle 4, Padolina 2, Jomaguiao 2.
Scoring by quarters: 30-26, 53-43, 81-70, 99-87.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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