Tinian won the battle of unbeaten teams in the U18 division of the 2014 BANMI Youth League after prevailing against Kentucky Fried Chicken, 62-51, last Friday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Tinian notched its third victory in as many matches, while KFC had its two-game winning run snapped.
Kobe Mendoza top-scored for Tinian with his 14 points, while Mark Babauta chipped in 11. Four other Tnian players combined for 29 points for the team’s balance offense.
Mendoza still finished in twin digits despite a forgettable first half where he failed to nail a single field goal and drilled only two free throws. Babauta made up for Mendoza’s lackluster performance, as the former scored all his 11 points in the first half, which ended in a deadlock, 30-all.
Wilfredo Francisco matched Babauta’s production in the first 20 minutes of the match to help KFC tie the game after facing a one-point deficit at the conclusion of the opening period, 15-16. Francisco fired 7 points in the first frame and tallied KFC’s last 5 markers in the second quarter for a strong first-half showing.
Francisco failed to sustain his momentum in the second half, as he went scoreless in the third period, while Mendoza finally took care of business for Tinian, delivering 8 points, including the three straight baskets that helped his team build an 8-point lead, 46-38, entering the final frame.
Mendoza then hit Tinian’s first basket in the fourth quarter before cooling down and letting Ignacio Borja take over. Borja was scoreless in the first three quarters before registering five consecutive points early in the payoff frame and making Tinian’s last field goal in the game. He, Mike San Nicolas and Karlo De Leon had 7 points each to back up Babauta and Mendoza. Paka Sablan contributed 8 points, while Jarron Epity, K.J. Nabors, and Dalchelbai Cruz added 2 markers apiece to complete Tinian’s box score.
Francisco led KFC with his 16 points, ending his second-half silence by nailing the team’s last two baskets. He was the lone KFC player post twin digits, as Jun Javier, Jethro Cruz, and Dixon Kwon recorded only 8 points each.
With Tinian winning over KFC, the former took the solo lead in the nine-team field. KFC dropped to a share of second place with DYS, followed by Dough Boys (1-0), Rollers A (1-1), Chalan Kanoa Saints (1-1) Ol’Aces (1-2), CNMI Girls Nationals (0-2), and Rollers B (0-3).
Tinian 62 – Mendoza 14, Babauta 11, Sablan 8, San Nicolas 7, De Leon 7, Borja7, Epity 2, Cruz 2, Nabors 2.
KFC 51 – Francisco 16, Javier 8, Cruz 8, Kwon 8, Borromeo 4, Dancoe 4, Ogasawara 2.
Scoring by quarters: 16-15, 30-30, 46-38, 62-51.