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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-11:54:12A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Saipan Vegas wins MIBL title

THE Saipan Vegas Aces reigned supreme in the 2019 AK-Toyota Marianas International Basketball League, beating the IT&E Explorers 91-89 in overtime in game 2 of the best-of-three series on Sunday at the Marianas High School gym.

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The Saipan Vegas Aces pose with the championship trophy of the Marianas International Basketball League on Sunday at the MHS Gym.  Contributed photo

The Aces, who won game 1, had another strong start in game 2, gaining a double-digit lead. Schmidt picked up where he left off in game 1 as he wreaked havoc on the defensive end with a handful of steals while drawing fouls to gather five points. Coby Santos also joined the fray with six points while the rest of the Aces likewise contributed for a 24-14 lead.

However, in the second quarter, IT&E bounced back. Darwin Barbo found his stroke from the perimeter, knocking down buckets while Sean Robasto and Brendon Talania cooked up 10 points combined to snatch the lead off Saipan Vegas’ hands 34-31.

The Aces tried to pick up the pace on both ends of the court but the Explorers matched the Aces’ production to stay ahead.

The Aces’ Schmidt used his speed to lead the attack with 10 points while team-mates Franco Bondoc and Jack Lizama put in four points in an attempt to regain control. But IT&E’s Ehroll Peredo and Bart Demapan used the post to their advantage with eight and seven points respectively to hold a two-point gap.

In the final quarter, the Explorers lost their touch and could not get through the Aces’ constant pressure defense.

With the help of Preston Basa’s range, the Aces were able to spread their scoring options with two shots from behind the three-point line. Santos added another to finally give the Aces the lead once again.

IT&E’s Rabasto played consistently to keep his team alive. The final quarter ended with the score tied at 81-81.

In the overtime period, the Explorers could not complete high percentage shots. Peredo, Jack Aranda and Gerald Flores scored, but the Aces’ Coby Santos at the frontline drained two crucial buckets supported by Aiferson Atan, Lizama and Schmidt to secure victory, 91-89, and the MIBL championship with an impressive undefeated record.

Scores:

Saipan Vegas Aces 91 - Douglas Schmidt 25, Coby Santos 19, Preston Basa 17, Jack Lizama 14, Aiferson Atan 4, Franko Bondoc 5, Greg Sablan 4, KJ Kabriel 2

IT&E Explorers 89 - Sean Rabasto 15, Bart Demapan 14, Gerald Flores 12, Ehroll Peredo 10, Darwin Barbo 9, Ivan De Vero 9, Elmer Esdrelon 6, Brendon Talania 5, Jack Aranda 5