Azkals, OIC Bolts to clash in final FKTC survive scare to hand Oasis defeat

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 13: OIC Bolts edged CGC Suns 79-72 in a semi-final game to advance to the finals of the 5’8” group Friday at the Western Union Money Transfer/PHILBACK conferences played at the Khalijiah School courts. The second semifinal of the day saw Azkals thrash Matrix 76-59 to clinch the second finalist slot that pits them against OIC Bolts come next weekend. In the opening game that turned out to be a nail-biting encounter, OIC bolted to a win punishing the Suns squad in every quarter. Dirk Basco and Milla banded together to terrorize CGC Suns in the first round to a 23-17 finish. 18 points were scored between the Bolts duo in that quarter.

Subsequent rounds saw Ruiz weigh into the fray finding the hoop at will for the Bolts. But the Suns were never too far away as Kyung and Federon alternated in scoring over the rounds, despite their leaky defense. Bolts led 23-17, 44-41, 61-60 and 79-72. Basco finished with 33 markers while Milla scored 16 in the Bolts’ win. The Suns’ heroic fight was led by Kyung and Federon who shot 23 and 13 apiece while Captain De Leon guarded the sometimes porous defense. CGC-Suns will have to play a third place game next weekend against the loser in the second semifinal encounter.

Jayson Santillan and De La Cruz led the Azkals to clearly outclass Matrix in the second 5’8”semifinal game of the day, 76-59, overcoming a second quarter scare that saw Matrix rally to neutralize Azkals’ first quarter 21-19 two- point lead with a 39-37 second quarter finish courtesy Al-Os. Al-Os’ early round maneuvers garnered 9 points for the Matrix. As Norman Rustia joined colleagues Santillan and De La Cruz in the deluge, the course of the game became obvious, even though Matrix were close on their coattails the entire time, except the final round when Azkals pulled ahead in the final stretch to nail the win 76-59, thus booking their place in the finals. Santillan finished with 23, followed by De La Cruz with 14 while Rustia contributed 12 in the Azkals’ win. Allen Occena was the hero of the Matrix loss with 14 points to his credit. Elsewhere on the hard court, FKTC survived a first round scare 17-7 to hand Oasis Smashers a 73-59 resounding defeat in an Open Division encounter with Montemayor in the thick of affairs for FKTC, garnering 22 points in the win.

Captain Montemayor drew first blood for the FKTC men with a straight 2-pointer with Pangatungan stepping into the fray to slot in another distant 3-pointer from the perimeter. Smashers’ Alvaro, Zablan and Santos teamed up with the barrages to stop the FKTC men in their tracks. The trio scored 15 points in the opening round to close the round at 17-7, leaving the FKTC wrong footed. Balancing offense and defense, FKTC’s 3-man demolishing team, Montemayor, Devantes and Sison, partnered to lead their side against the aggressive smashers, turning the tables from the second round in their favor.

Though the Alvaro-led Smashers still had the vim to win the game, the FKTC momentum couldn’t easily be extinguished in the middle of the barrages. The rounds ended 7-17, 28-25, 44-43 and finally 73-59 in FKTC’S pocket. Devantes and Sison finished with 13 and 12 in addition to Montemayor’s 22 in the FKTC win while Alvaro, Zablan and Santos all scored 12 points apiece to pace the Oasis Smashers in their loss.
Two open division games saw default wins as Ace and Guardians failed to show up in their scheduled games against D’Lush and Matrix. The latter two got easy default wins with 20 points awarded.

Also in the inter-medical division, Bayan Dental Clinic defeated EMT 66-50 with Kenneth Najera hitting 21 in the win while Viduya scored 10. EMT was paced in the loss by Salomon and Blanco who scored 13 and 10.
The Vipers had quite an easy ride, defeating Adan hospital 94-65 in another inter-medical clash of the day. Vipers’ Magno Obaldo’s affair with the hoop began from the start, opening scoring for his side with two consecutive 2-pointers. After recovering from their first quarter slow start, Vipers were gliding into a comfortable win leading clearly in the rounds 31-13, 46-31, 72-42 and finally 94-65 to clinch the win.
The last quarter saw the Adan put up a fierce resistance, almost chocking off Vipers’ scores which were reduced to trickles, while Rodriguez’s barrage at the other end kept the Adan counter clicking. 24 of Adan’s 65 came in the last round but couldn’t avail them as much as to neutralize the Vipers’ 29 point lead. Obaldo scored 24 in the win, supported by Virnie Alabe’s 14. The top scorer in the game was Rodriguez who finished at 29 to pace the Adan loss.

In the open division games, Hasawi edged Mismo 55-53 with Ariel and Kano scoring 11 and 8 points in the Hasawi win. LDJ-Ilongo had a good day, thrashing Diko Motors 94-64. Jeff Fajardo and Shane Coppin led LDJ to the win with 21 and 16 markers apiece while Andy Bucu contributed 14 in the Motors loss. In the rest of the open division games for the weekend, Open Kitchen restaurant narrowly beat NADEC 75-73 while Major Homes-PANIK edged Falcons 51-43 in the penultimate with ATC handing Satllions a 78-53 drubbing in the final match. Finals of the 5’8” division between OIC Bolts and Azkals will be played on Friday, followed by the award ceremony and the opening of the new 5’8” division conference. All should endeavor to attend.


By: Iddris Seidu

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