Battling Ikea team
Battling Ikea withstand NSC rally Unisteel overwhelm Kalexco

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 18: The weekend’s Al-Ektasad Unit-ed Exchange Company/Ulti-mate Tailoring PHILBACK (Philippines Basketball Club in Kuwait) 9th conference tournament games saw a series of tough fights with Ikea edging Nasser Sports Center (NSC) 60-58 in the 5’8” Division opening fixture of the 12-game indoor basketball played at Khalijia Arabic School in Riggae.
Edward Mangalus for Ikea was at the business end of the victory, topping the score chart with 18 points. He ruled the court for the better part of the game with a flurry of two-pointers that came effortlessly. However, he was not without match in the opposition. Gueco threw a formidable challenge matching Mangalus boot-for-boot to score 18 points.
Ikea began the first quarter by opening up a modest lead which NSC were unable to close till the buzzer. The third quarter was the closest the NSC could stitch up the hole with Dignos peaking for NSC. With just two points separating the two sides, 43-41 at the end of the third quarter and Ikea’s hopes of victory dimming with NSC’s bold rally, Sauco and Villanueva weighed into the fray to help Ikea carry the game to a 60-58 conclusion.

Sauco shot 13 while Villanueva finished at 11 in support Mangalus’18 to clinch the win for Ikea. Dignos also did his part contributing 14 in suppoer of Gueco who finished at 18 in the NSC losing adventure.
 Unisteel nearly steamrolled Kalexco in the second game of the division balancing strategy and aggression to exploit the chinks in the opposition defense to finish 67-52 in the inter-company encounter. Gracias led the Unisteel charge scoring 14 points, backed by Castro who chipped in 11 valuable points.
Kalexco found their champ in Cortez, who outclassed all individual brilliance in the opposition. He was the leading scorer of the game at 20. Carinal with 10 points was crucial to the Kalexco fight.
Unisteel were clearly dominating from the get go, bagging the first two quarters 18-17 and 31-27. The third quarter saw scoring climb for Kalexco but Unisteel’s scores also kept coming in trickles to still keep the opposition at bay, 42-37 at the end of the round. The final round showed Gracias had saved his best for the last as he blazed the court to plunder Kalexco 67-52 at the buzzer.

The third game between Saveco and CGC Suns wound up on an expected sweep for Suns 75-60. In what appeared to be a trend of the day, a third-round upset was smelt here too by Saveco when the scores almost evened at 57-55, with Saveco trailing after having tied the results at 30-30 in the second round.
De La Cruz was the man to watch out for in the Suns. He scored 29 points, some of those coming in the third round when Saveco felt shudders rippling through its ranks. Sandoy with 10 points supported De La Cruz.
The last round was charged to the point of ripping under a blade. The crowds were rapturous, rooting for their teams. But Suns had other ideas. Far from going down to the wire, the last quarter was tamped by the victors for a decisive display of preponderance. Suns won convincingly 75-60. Rommel Biagko with 13 points paced Saveco in their loss.
The next 5”8 division game saw Balik Islam rain baskets at KPC-IPC to finish 70-51 in their favor. Scoring on both sides was sheer team effort with leading scorers not crossing 18 in either team. Richard of Islam with 18 points was the most prolific scorer of the game. Labayo backed up with 17. KPC-IPC was paced by Manalansan with 17, followed by Kalaquian at 11.
Balik who dominated from the stat never allowed IPC a chance to get into the game. The hardest blows were kept for the last round, when Balik Islam added a whopping 15 points to surge from 55 to 70 flooring KPC-IPC 75-51.

The Food Group (TFG) and Vipers were out to entertain with an inter-medical game that kept spectators guessing. TFG reached home 65-52, after a close contest. Kerby De La Rosa for TFG was the game’s lead scorer with 29 points followed by Vipers’ Roel Cabacungan and Pelayo at 12 and 11 apiece. Brian and Geronimo for TFG both scored 10 apiece. The rounds went 17-14, 32-24, 49-42 and finally 65-52.
Still in the inter-medical division, the game between EMT and Adan was cambered, with Adan upending EMT 66-51. Mark Cabico was ruthless for the Adan side shooting 17 points. Rodrick Perlas scored 10, strengthening the Adan haul. On the other side, Rodriguez’s game-high 25 points did not prove sufficient to evoke any hope for the EMT, who steadily trailed behind: 13-9, 27-20, 47-30 and 66-51.

United Alliance lost to Moro Eagles in the seventh game 56-49. Umbra and Jamil were the top players for Eagles scoring 15 and 13 in the same order. Jomar scored 15 and Edzel 12 for United Alliance in the game that saw them cede control after an initial round slim advantage 13-12. Moro Eagles ruled the game from the second round till the buzzer, 25-24, 41-34 and 56-49.
Tyramed were in a rapacious mood in the game against Mismo, beating them 77-63. Mismo tied the scores in the second round after trailing 19-14 in the first but the gap yawned again as Tyramed pounded away 43-42 and 77-63 in the last two rounds to win in style.
Elsewhere in the 5’8” division, Hasawi came up trumps in the game against Voiz Avenue, 61-44. Daniel, Alvin and Ronnie did the job for Hasawi, scoring 16, 11 and 10. For the Voiz Avenue, Jhun and Gutierez scored 10 points apiece.

Also in another 5’8” division faceoff, Los Pinas were downed by Spy 69-45. The Spy squad was led by Jayson who scored 26, backed by Richmond’s 9. Daddy and Jaypee were the lead scorers for Los Pinas at 13 and 8.
Empire Allies booked their first win of the league after scuttling Tamaraws 53-48 in the penultimate game. Allies asserted their superiority after brushing off a first round 15-15 tie to clearly dominate through the quarters. Allies widened the gap in the second round by nearly 10 points, 31-22.
But Tamaraws were never far off as Erwin Olido made some delectable runs to keep his side’s score card clicking. Mike Lacap who finished with 16 points mobilized the Allies squad to finish the game 53-48 with support from Nelor and Baril who scored 12 apiece to pace the Tamaraws’ loss.
In the final game of the day, Matrix’s hopes for a second league win was dashed FKTC edged them 77-70. Devantes scored 18 points for FKTC. Al-Os’s brilliant game-high 23 for Matrix were rendered ineffective with team dispirit.

By: Iddris Seidu

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