The Game outlasts Blue Haus in cliffhanger

RBA The Game’s Joe Sablan

The Game’s Joe Sablan drives against the outstretched arm of Blue Haus’ Errol Peredo in the fourth quarter of their NMI Rollers Basketball Association’s Inaugural NMI Rollers Men’s Basketball Tournament last Friday at the Koblerville Gymnasium. (Mark Rabago)

The Game remains unscathed after nipping Blue Haus in a battle of undefeated teams in the NMI Rollers Basketball Association’s Inaugural NMI Rollers Men’s Basketball Tournament last Friday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

The match was tight from the get-go with both teams engaged in a low-scoring, defensive-minded contest. However, Blue Haus took the initiative early with forwards Ryan Byna and Errol Peredo feasting from all over the court to give their team a shaky 27-23 spread at halftime.

But The Game continued to keep it close in the second half and slowly but surely took the momentum and then the lead from Blue Haus. Leading scorers Mac Mintac and Eric Joe finally found their stride in the final 20 minus of the ball game to catch their opponents.
With Mintac bombing away from outside and Joe doing damage inside, The Game wrestled the lead from Blue Haus. They will continue to hold on the lead until a fiery rally by Blue Haus precipitated an exciting seesaw battle until the end.

Blue Haus’ rally culminated with a 3-pointer by captain Elmer Esdrelon at the 4:28 mark of the second half that gave them a 51-50 advantage. They would even push that to a 53-50 lead moments later on an inside stab by Byna.

The Game had other plans though as they went on to outscore Blue Haus, 7-3, in the chaotic windup that was punctuated by a daredevil drive by Jeff Sagum with 29 seconds left that pegged what would be the final score. This happened, as in its next possession Blue Haus coughed the ball up when Esdrelon passed the spheroid to a phantom player on the sideline sealing their fate.

Mintac led all scorers with 19 points, while Joe added 12 and 8 rebounds. Byna fired 15 markers in the loss, the first for Blue Haus, while Esdrelon chipped in 8 points.

In the second game, Ol’Aces rebounded from its loss to The Game last time out by drubbing Socho 77-43. Coby Santos started out like a house on fire for the victors as the national team candidate scored all of his 18 points to give Ol’Aces a 36-24 lead at the halftime break.

It would go from bad to worse for Socho 2 in the second half, as despite Santos and other lethal scorer Jeff Castro (12 points in the opening half) dialing down their offensive prowess, Ol’Aces continued to pile on the points and the game ended in a 34-point rout.

Santos was the highpoint man for Ol’Aces with 18 points, while Preston Basa and Airson Atan tossed in 15 and 13 markers, respectively. Rob Smith scored 8 points to pace Socho 2 in defeat.

First Game
The Game 57 – Mintac 19, Joe 12, Cabaltica 6, Sagum 4, Deleon Guerrero 4, Dayao 3, Arellano 3, Blake 2, Mendiola 2, Sablan 2.
Blue Haus 56 – Byna 15, Esdrelon 8, Peredo 7, Guiab 7, Barbo 6, J. Santos 5, K. Santos 4, De Dios 2, Berline 2.
Scoring by halves: 23-27, 57-56.

Second Game
Ol’Aces 77 – Santos 18, Basa 15, Atan 13, Castro 12, Onopwy 6, Schmidt 4, Rabauiliman 4, Kabiriel 2, Diaz 2.
Socho 2 43 – Smith 9, Guerrero 8, Espinosa 8, Taisague 5, Pangelinan 4, Sharry 4, Fejeran 3, Phillip 2.
Scoring by halves: 36-24, 77-43.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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