Vibes noses out Ol’Aces 1 in semis


Vibes’ Matt Mancao looks to pass the ball to his teammate as he is up against the defense of the Ol’Aces 1’s Joshua Andrew, left, and Andrew Palino during the first half of their semis game in the boys U25 division of the TanHoldings holiday caging last Monday night at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The battle for the first finals berth in the boys U25 division went down-to-the-wire with Vibes escaping with a 49-48 win against the Ol’Aces 1 in their semis game in the 2016 TanHoldings Christmas Basketball Tournament last Monday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Jesse Santos made the dagger for Vibes, who stole the win despite falling behind by as much as 12 points in the first half. Santos, who was fouled by Aiferson Atan on his way for a fastbreak layup off a pitch from Douglas Schmidt, missed his first charity, but knocked in the second one to give Vibes the lead, down to the last 0.6 of a second of the game.

The Ol’Aces 1 sued for time, hoping for a miracle, but that did not happen as it turned the ball over when the match resumed.

It was a sorry loss for the Ol’Aces 1 as it once led by twin-digits in the first half, 29-17. Nak Nakashima, Sidney Quan, and Dave Camacho had 6 points apiece in the Ol’Aces 1’s good start, while four of their teammates also made it to the board.

Vibes, on the other hand, trailed as Schmidt was a marked man in the first half with two and sometime three Ol’Aces players ganging up on him. He was held to 5 points and two field goals in the opening 20 minutes of the play, while Matt Duenas kept Vibes in the game with his 9 markers.

After struggling against the Ol’Aces 1’s pesky defense, Schmidt redeemed himself in the second half. He scored 8 of Vibes 10 points in a five-minute stretch, while Santos recorded the other 2. Santos also played better in the final frame, dropping 7 of his 9 markers in the payoff period, including the winning free throw.

With its close win, Vibes will play in the division finals this Saturday against the victor of the Ol’Aces 2 and Rollers 1 semis match last night.

Vibes 49 – Schmidt 17, Duenas 13, Santos 9, Eubanks 4, Macahito 3, Vivero 2, Mancao 1.

Ol’Aces 1 48 – Quan 12, Nakashima 8, Camacho 8, Sakisat 7, Atan 7, Palino 4, Andrew 2.

Scoring by halves: 20-29, 49-47.

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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