Yiaco Medical
Yiaco Medical end Buffalos title defence Global Care, Tisok advance to Leaguers final

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25: Yiaco Medical’s RJ Viray scored three points in the final five seconds to hand his side the crucial 84-82 semi final victory over reigning champions Buffalo Café Friday in the Inter-Company group of the UAE Exchange/Xpress Money PABAK 29th Conference games played at the Hawally Disabled Sport Club. Buffalo Café’s quest for a back-to-back championship title win in the Inter-Company division of the FONZ/TFC cosponsored tournament got derailed in the final five seconds as they bowed 82-84 to Yiaco Medical in the adrenalin-filled semis.  Meeting in the semis for the first time Buffalo Café and Yiaco Medical fought a close and exciting contest with the latter team having a decisive advantage over the Buffalos in the first quarter, 18-11, courtesy Richard Ison who netted 8 points leading the offense.

But the star-studded Buffalos though numerically outnumbered managed to subdue the medical men from the second quarter onwards after a slow start on the combined efforts of Melvin Icaro, Flaviano Ramirez and Bernie Ariola to finish the second round ahead 20-18, but still trailing overall by 5 points.
The two squads traded baskets in the third with Ramirez and his Buffalo Café restaurateur’s squad riding on their momentum pushed forward to maintain their lead but the Yiaco fight back was fierce. The Buffalos managed to get just a nose ahead in the final moments, leading 82-81 and with just five seconds left on the clock, Viray lobbed a distant shot from outside the arc to steal the game, 84-82 for Yiaco at the buzzer, thus shooting the medical squad into the finals next weekend to face ATC Chillis at the championships for the trophy.
Elsewhere in another nail-biter of a semi final game, IMCO Engineering overcame an early 11-20 first round scare to turn the tables against Kabakab from the second quarter and subsequently rallied in the rest of the game to finish with a 13-point wide margin, 86-73.

Captain Lito De Guzman drew first blood for the Kabakab squad with a straight 2-pointer. His fast move was picked on by team mates Noel Bautista and Marc Mariano who also got into the mix to coordinate beautifully for their side’s first quarter impressive performance 20-11 against a wrong-footed IMCO side.
IMCO’s Allan Yap’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, the engineers were gliding into a comfortable win leading though closely trailed by Kabakab15-12 and 24-14 in the second and penultimate rounds, on the backs of Captain Allen Aloria and Bernard Carino who alternated in scoring.
The final round saw Kabakab bolster their defenses, almost chocking off IMCO’s scores which were reduced to trickles, while Arthur Pamatmat and Mariano’s barrages at the other end kept the Kabakab counter clicking. 21 of Kabakab’s 73 came in the last round, but IMCO got what was supposed to be a boost when the Kabakab’s steely defense man Raffy was tagged for his fifth and final foul, thus walking him out of the court for the rest of the game.

IMCO took advantage of the Kabakab’s weakened defense to bombard their basket with a barrage, ending the game, 86-73 in their favor to advance to the finals next weekend. Alloria was the juggernaut that ran Kabakab down in the ensuing rounds, scoring 28 points while Yap and Carino got 19 and 14 to fuel the IMCO lead. IMCO play against the Legends in the finals for the Veterans group championship trophy next Friday.
Also in a Leaguers semi final game James Carillo, Frits and Eric Barbieto led Global Care to a 71-57 resounding victory against NAS Warriors. Carillo’s double 3-pointer shots ensured Care’s lead in the first round that ended 14-13. A Warrior second round rally ignited by Andy Bucu saw the National Aviation Services Warriors claim a 15-14 lead in the round to zero out the Care lead to 28-28 standoff.
But Global Care rallied again balancing offense and defense with Barola and Carillo alternating in scoring to finish the third round 22-9. With Warriors appearing confounded and in disarray by the Care advances, the former took advantage of their new found momentum with the ball crisscrossing the court constantly to engage the opposition basket to widen the deficit and finally finish the game 71-57 in their favor. Global Care thus do battle with Tisok come Friday in the finals championship for the Leaguers trophy.

In another match, ATC Chilis bolted to a win subjecting Desert Storm to punishment in every quarter. Joe Flaviano and Ronald Alaro banded together to terrorize Storm in the 25-18 first round finish, scoring 18 points between the dangerous pair in that quarter. Subsequent rounds saw Jedd Sauza and Byan Perez weigh into the fray finding the hoop at will for the Chilis. Chilis led 25-18, 28-21, 23-18 and 24-22. Perez ended with 21 while Sauza scored 16 in the ATC Chilis win.
Tisok outmanned, outgunned and outplayed Flipside with an 86-66 drubbing to advance to the finals of the Leaguers group. The two squads fought on even terms from the opening toss, with Tisok’s Villanueva leading his team mates on a boot-for-boot match against Jeff Diwa and his Flipside squad, trading baskets back and forth, leading to a first round 23-21 finish.

The Flipside squad lost focus on the game after the first round, leaving Villanueva and his crew to run roughshod with their barrages, round after round to close the game 86-66 in their favor. Villanueva finished at 19 with Jayson Manalo chipping in 12 in the win.
Royal Mist went down 70-82 against Legends in the penultimate semi final game of the Veteran division. Mist kicked off their game on a speedy note, with Bartolini and Ado Prado leading the way to their 24-16 first round triumph. The Mist celebrations were cut short soon after second round got underway.
Arnold De Leon and Ivan Beltran bombarded the Mist basket constantly in their side’s momentum surge to take control of the game to the very final buzzer, ending the rest of the rounds, 24-15, 20-16 and finally 22-15 to close the game at 82-70 for the Legends.

Allan Yap opened the account for IMCO Engineering in their second game of the day and closed it with flourish, leading them to an impressive win over the D’Coaches in another semi final game of the day. After drawing first blood with a short stab from under, Yap combined with Alex Carino and Rommel Gindo to challenge the rampant scoring runs of D’Coaches’ James Carillo, Jay Zulietta and Garry Loyola in a matchup of two evenly matched squads throughout the game.
The gallery watched with bated breaths as to the outcome of the game with the seesawing scores between the two opposing squads. With the clock winding down, Yap hit the second of only two treys he had in the game for 78-62 IMCO lead and that set them on the course to victory, but as the Coaches fought back both in offense and defense, IMCO made a few substitutions, which in the last minutes turned the game completely in their favor to hand them the double digit 86-72 lead to the end.


By: Iddris Seidu

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