Tinian tops Ol’Aces in finale


Tinian players and officials pose with their championship trophy after beating the Ol’Aces in overtime, 60-58, in the boys U18 division finals of the Pacific Amusement /NMI Rollers Youth Basketball Tournament at the Koblerville Gymnasium last Saturday. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

The Tinian Typhoons pulled off a 60-58 overtime victory over the Ol’Aces in the U18 division finals of the Pacific Amusement /NMI Rollers Youth Basketball Tournament at the Koblerville Gymnasium last Saturday.

Eron Borja made 4 points in the extra period, while Gregory Santos and Robert Reyes added 2 each in Tinian’s close win and upset over the No. 1 seed Ol’Aces. Tyler Santos also scored in the extension, connecting on his first free throw. He missed the second one and there was a battle for the rebound with neither team able to get possession, as time expired, handing the Typhoons the win.

Gregory Santos top-scored for Tinian with his 17 points, while Leo Epity contributed. 13.

Coby Santos led the Ol’Aces, as he also recorded 17 points, while Jesstin Laniyo had 15 points.

After the tough win, Tinian Typhoons coach Keith Nabors credited the success of the team to the hard work each member put in, the skills they contributed, and the tight-knit community they came from.

“It just goes to show their dedication and hard work. The boys put in the hard work and the practice this week. It’s them wanting to come up here and take the win back home. It feels good, these kids have been playing together their whole life and this is just a culmination of their hard work,” he said.

“When you’re able to grow up together, I think you’re going to have more success. We don’t have the number of athletes that Saipan has, but with the number of athletes we do have, they execute their part whether it be on defense, rebounding, steals, and scoring. Whatever they do, they do it well,” Nabors added.

Nabors also said the team’s biggest challenge was finding places to practice but they were able to overcome it and “we came over here ready to play, and executed the game plan,” he said.

The Pacific Amusement/NMI Rollers Youth Basketball Tournament was the first league the Tinian Typhoons have participated in since Super Typhoon Yutu devastated the island.

Tinian was awarded the inaugural league’s perpetual championship trophy and the team vows to come back next season to defend its title.

Tinian Typhoons 60—G. Santos 17, Epity 13, Cruz 9, Borja 7, T. Santos 7, Reyes 7.
Ol’Aces 58—Santos 17, Laniyo 15, Atan 11, Deleon Guerrero 6, Omelau 4, Ichihara 2, Kaipat 2.
Scoring by quarters: 20-19, 29-24, 49-47, 51-51, 60-58 (OT)

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 kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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