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    Friday, September 20, 2019-5:44:22P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Saipan Vegas, The Game Elite triumph in basketball league debut

SAIPAN Vegas and The Game Elite showed their worth in the opening of the 2019 Marianas International Basketball League sponsored by Atkins Kroll Saipan, besting their adversaries on Saturday at the Marianas High School gym.

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Saipan Vegas’ Greg Sablan takes the shot over Tan Holdings’ Jun Alipio during the opening game   of the 2019 Marianas International Basketball League at the MHS gym on Saturday.  Photo by James F. Sablan Jr.

Saipan Vegas won the first match of the day with a blowout victory over Tan Holdings, 108-80.

Saipan Vegas earned a double-digit control as early as the opening quarter due to its players’ defensive efforts. The man-to-man pressure was more than enough for Douglas Schmidt to pick apart Tan Holdings’ passes, resulting in a handful of steals and a strong eight-point finish on the other end. The spotlight was not just on him as his court vision also fed Franko Bondoc and Greg Sablan who each contributed eight points to widen the gap 32-20.

Tan Holdings continued to fight with Jun Alipio attacking from the post, scoring 11 points. Law Guerrero chipped in seven including one from the three-point line to stay within reach. But it was the turnovers that kept Tan Holdings behind. Aiferson Atan kept the tempo running with pressure defense while adding eight points. He was supported by Gino Libuw and Sablan to stretch the distance 57-42.

It was no different throughout the second half as Saipan Vegas’ lead reached 20 points. This time Sablan led the march with eight points while the rest of the team joined in. Marvin Rabauliman and Suanni Pua made the scoreboard with a combined six points.

Only Biboy Centina could answer back for Tan Holdings while Alipio returned in the final quarter looking for a comeback. However, Saipan Vegas held steady to secure victory, 108-80.

The Game Elite 86, Toyota Wheelers 76

The Game Elite had a tougher battle but managed to beat the Toyota Wheelers.

Mak Mintac and Jun Fidelino where the stars of the battle between the two teams as they played consistently in all four quarters. Mintac’s eurostep worked as a charm, eluding defenders to slice his way inside while Fidelino expanded his range with back-to-back triples to give his team the lead in the first half 42-41. But the Wheelers had an answer on the other end. Twin towers Kelvin Fitial and Alex Lauron used their height to find their way inside for endless post points while Clark Moswell and Rodney Catalla attacked from a distance to give the Wheelers control for the first time at the end of the third canto, 64-60.

But when it came down to crunch time, the wheels stopped turning. Toyota’s big men were nowhere to be seen while The Game Elite exploded on the offensive end to regain control. Jun Javier joined Mintac, putting in six points apiece while Keith Santos contributing a few more buckets to bag the win, 86-76.

Scores

Saipan Vegas 108 - Greg Sablan 23, Aiferson Atan 20, Franko Bondoc 17, Preston Basa 16, Douglas Schmidt 12, Gino Libuw 8, Marvin Rabauliman 6, Suanni Pua 4, Zack Diaz 2

Tan Holdings 80 - Jun Alipio 19, Michael Tormegosa 16, Law Guerrero 12, Biboy Centina 9, Kerwin Dayao 6,Dindo Pablo 5, Ramsa Tenepere 5, Ed Echavez 4, Vincent Lumen 2, Arjay Nonato 2,

***

The Game Elite 86  -Mak Mintac 23, Jun Fidelino 18, Joe Sablan 11, Keith Santos 10, Jun Javier 10, Kenta Castro 5, Jave Sablan 4, EJ Abejo 3, Bryan Bernardo 2

Toyota Wheelers 76 - Kelvin Fitial 16, Rodney Catalla 11, Alex Lauron 10, Jediael Manalo 10, George De Guzman 9, Clark Moswell 8, Brian Natividad 8, Vhoie Francia 2, Jeffrey Borja 2