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Micronesian Basketball Tournament round 3 recap - Jul 9, 2004


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GREG
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Guam defeated its most likely foe for the gold medal, as the host team scored a 100-72 dumping of defending champion Palau in the 2004 Micronesian Basketball Tournament at University of Guam Field House.
Guam finished with a 3-0 record to top Pool A. They are the only team that reached 100 points in the games.
Palau badly needed the win in order to get the chance to enter the medal round and defend the title they had won in the 2000 edition.
The loss tied them with Pohnpei and Yap with similar 1-2 slates.
What was to be a tightly-fought match among gold medal favorites turned into a rout as Guam used a 25-12 second quarter scoring run to turn a 16-19 first quarter deficit to a 44-28 halftime advantage.
It was Guam’s first time to be trailing in the week-long tournament.
Guam finally broke the game wide open when EJ Calvo and Francis Reyes alternated in bombarding Palau with 3-pointers in the third quarter.
“I expected them to come out hard. This was a meaningful game for them. Plus they just came off an overtime win (over Pohnpei). They came out strong,” Guam head coach Bob Pelkey said. “We got a lot of respect for Palau. We got so many friends over there. And the one thing you learn about basketball is you don’t like to lose to your friends.”
Palau’s downfall happened when top gunners Sunshine Soalablai and Yutaka Gibbons Jr. had to sit early in the second quarter due to foul trouble. Both players have been averaging 20 points per game in Palau’s last two matches.
“We made too many turnovers. We couldn’t capitalize on (their) mistakes. We just have to play more games against teams like Guam. The more we play better teams, the more better we’re going to get,” said Palau head coach Topps Sungino.
Gibbons and Soalablai scored 16 and 15 points each before fouling out in the fourth period.
Joey Cepeda and Scott Stern had 14 points apiece to lead Guam’s balanced scoring attack.
Willie Stinnet, Calvo and Seve Susuico all finished with 11 points each.
Guam will face Kosrae in the playoffs today at 7 p.m. while the Republic of the Marshall Islands battle the second placer of Pool A with the winners entering the gold medal game also at 7 p.m.
RMI topped Pool B, 3-0, after scoring an easy 93-68 victory over Chuuk. Gabriel Lait had 18 points to pace RMI while Robert Pinho and Jonathan Nathan added 14 and 10 points each.
Chuuk, which lost all of its three games, got a game-high 28 points from Keitani Graham and 12 more from Muritok Muritok.
CNMI, meanwhile, kissed their gold medal hopes goodbye after absorbing a heartbreaking 67-55 loss to Kosrae.
CNMI ended with a 1-2 mark as they dropped out of contention in the medal race. The best place they could finish is at fifth.
Had CNMI won the game they would secure second place in Pool B. CNMI even led 31-26 at halftime but went cold in the third quarter as Kosrae outscored them, 10-27.
Tarance Kibby made 14 points, Harry Elley chipped in 12 points while Kilafwa Palik and Freddie Kibby contributed 11 and 10 each.
Abong Camacho led CNMI with a game-high 19 points while Mark Wallace finished with 13.
Pohnpei edged Yap, 82-80, in the other men’s game.
Kelvin Sam netted 20 points to lead Pohnpei while Daystone Roby and Benjamin Lukas contributed 17 apiece.
Yap got a game-high 26 points from Kamal Walton with Morri Money and Arhur Ruepong ending with 19 and 14 markers each  



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