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Sweep for Fiesta; 2nd win for Saipan Tribune - Jan 13, 2018

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Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan swept the first round of the elimination in the 2017 TanHoldings Inter-Company Basketball League, while Saipan Tribune notched its second win last Friday at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium. Fiesta Resort played in the curtain-raiser and improved to a 5-0 record following a 72-58 victory over Lower Base Warriors (0-5), while Saipan Tribune (2-3) withstood Shirley's Coffee Shop's comeback bid for a 54-47 triumph in the second game. Kanoa Resort (4-1) completed last weekend's winners list when it topped POI Aviation (3-2) in the nightcap, 64-60. Young guns Djay Ong and Hark Galarion delivered for Saipan Tribune with the former firing a game-high 22 points and the latter chipping in 15. Ong's triple and feed to Louie Calayag down to the last two minutes and change of the game bailed Saipan Tribune out after Shirley's moved within 3, 38-41. Before the near meltdown, Saipan Tribune led by as much as 17 points in the first half, 23-6, and jumped to a 13-0 start, as Shirley's showed up with only five players at the beginning of the match. Reinforcements then came in for Shirley's with Junar Guiab and John Jugos leading the squad's fightback in the second half. While Shirley's picked up its scoring in the final half, Saipan Tribune slowed down, making only a free throw, courtesy of Ong's split, in the first six minutes of that period. Shirley's continued its uphill climb in the second half and was still in the game down by 4, 47-51, with about 30 seconds left on the clock when Jugos missed a triple and Angel Catungal also faltered on his point-blank shot. After Shirley's muffed attempts, Saipan Tribune finally secured the rebound and Galarion bravely took a corner triple and nailed it in, sealing the win for his team. Before that dagger, Galarion, who knocked in two shots from downtown in the first half, missed all his four attempts from beyond the arc in the second. Meanwhile, Fiesta worked in the second half to keep Lower Base winless. Fiesta was on top by only 3 at the break, 32-29, but when the game resumed, it asserted its dominance on offense for a 14-point winning margin. Troy Ngirarois and Wilfredo Francisco finished in twin digits for Fiesta with 14 and 11, respectively, while six of their teammates scored at least 5 markers each. William Benavente led Lower Base with his 14 points.
In the final game last weekend, Kanoa Resort drew 31 points from Douglas Schmidt to top POI. Schmidt made baskets in streaks and got enough help from his teammates to foil POI's repeated comeback bids. His longest scoring run came in the first half when he tallied 13 straight points to hand Kanoa a 33-24 halftime lead. He was then held to 8 markers in the second half, but his teammates stepped up to keep Kanoa on top. Dindo Pablo added 11 points for Kanoa, 9 of them came in the second half, while Moises De Arroz, Carl Francisco, and Sonny Encarna contributed 4 points each. Jesse Santos had 18 markers on a losing effort for POI.
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