White Haus, Empe Light top opponents

Empe Light’s Haejun Park, center, muscles his way through the defense of Gold Ballers’ Kevin Leomo, left, while the latter’s teammate Prince Factor looks on during the first quarter of their game in the IT&E-sponsored Ali’i Blue Haus caging last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

White Haus and Empe Light gained momentum in the third quarter to cruise past their respective foes in the 2nd Ali’i Blue Haus Invitational Basketball League last Wednesday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium.

Empe Light crushed Gold Ballers in the nightcap, 104-84, for its second win in five games, while White Haus moved up to a 3-2 record following a 97-84 triumph over Vendetta in the curtain-raiser.

White Haus could not keep Vendetta away in the first half, leading by only 7 at the break, 49-42, before finally building a double-digit spread in the third period, 77-65. Darwin Barbo and Nate Mateo helped White Haus widen the gap, as they combined for 22 of the squad’s 28 markers in the crucial third canto. Barbo scored 12 points, while Mateo added 10, 6 of them came from downtown.

Mateo and Barbo then slowed down in the fourth period, but that did not cause problems to White Haus, as Jun Tabora and Alex Ocampo stepped in to keep the squad’s safe distance. Tabora drilled White Haus’ first 8 points in the fourth period, while Ocampo put icing on the cake, firing the team’s last 8 points.

Tabora, Barbo, and Mateo ended up recording 20-plus points in their 13-point victory with the former making 21 point and the latter registering 25. Barbo had 23 markers. Ocampo also finished in twin digits with his 13 points.

Vendette, which is winless in three games, was led by the 13 points apiece of James Dela Cruz and Gino Libuw.

In the second game, Empe Light capitalized on the short-handed Gold Ballers for the 20-point winning margin.

Gold Ballers fielded only six players against Empe Light, but despite of its depleted lineup, it kept Empe Light within striking distance in the first two quarters. Gold Ballers even tied the match at the end of the first canto, 28-28, and was just behind by 7 at halftime, 51-58.

However, fatigue took its toll on the Gold Ballers in the third period, while Empe Light had better numbers in manpower to threaten a breakaway. With the Gold Ballers not having enough players to keep up with Empe Light, the latter eventually sealed the win early in the fourth canto.

Sean Rabasto top-scored for Empe Light with his 24 points, while Sonny Lerio chipped in 17. Haejun Park, Olan Tengco, and Jerome Reyes also tallied double figures with 13, 12, and 11, respectively. Dan Mateo led all scorers with his 28 markers.

First Game
White Haus 97— Mateo 25, Barbo 23, Tabora 21, Ocampo 13, Hernandez 8, Nonato 7.
Vendetta 84 — Dela Cruz 14, Libuw 13, Estolas 12, Gomez 12, Orbeta 10, Castro 10, Tenorio 9, Sablan 2, Bucalig 2.
Scoring by quarters: 25-18, 49-42, 77-65, 97-84.

Second Game
Empe Light 104— Rabasto 24, Lerio 17, Park 13, Tengco 12, Reyes 11, Peredo 9, Leung 8, Espinosa 7.
Gold Ballers 84 —Mateo 28, Cortez 27, Leomo 12, Avila 10, Factor 5.
Scoring by quarters: 28-28, 58-51, 80-68, 104-84.

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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