Azkals
NADEC down Al-Tazaj in group ‘A’ opener OIC overcome JC Net test

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 24: The weekend’s Al-Ektasad United Exchange Company/Ultimate Tailoring PHILBACK (Philippines Basketball Club in Kuwait) 9th conference tournament games in Riggae kicked off with NADEC-Tisok downing Al-Tazaj 71-58 in a 5’8” division group “A” clash while OIC-Stallions edged past JC Net Tailors 76-71 in a highly contested game of the same division. Reyes drew first blood for NADEC with two consecutive 2-pointers in the opening minutes, instantly upping the pressure on the Al-Tazaj. It didn’t take long, however before Al-Tazaj’s Alwin Trinidad weaved his way past the mid-court line to send a long drive into the hoop for 3 points to open scoring for his side. Reyes’ teammate Barrera picked on his opening to score some two more points and was shoved down on his way to the third. He converted the two resultant free throws. NADEC finished the first round 21-9 ahead. Al-Tazaj managed to increase their tally to 16 points in round two but was way behind NADEC who closed the first half at 39 in the face of massive counter attack effort led by led by Jomar Soriano for Al-Tazaj, who had been hankering down earlier in the game.


Casimiro charged in from nowhere to take command of NADEC’s game, partnering with Barrera to lead their side with a torrent of baskets to surge ahead home to a 71-58 finish.
Casimiro scored 10 in the win with Barrera also contributing 10. Al-Tazaj’s game was spearheaded mostly by Trinidad, Tito and Soriano with every single one of the trio scoring higher than the NADEC players who displayed better team effort with a well spread out game. Trinidad shot 21, Tito 13 and Soriano 13 to pace the Al-Tazaj loss.
In the next game on court number one, JC Net lost to OIC-Stallions 71-76 in a highly competitive encounter. JC Net ruled the first half comfortably to finish 21-16, 36-32 with Javier Rocero and Francis Yec teaming up to do the damage. Sensing defeat, OIC returned from the half time break with all five playing offense and defense in swarms. But Michael Milla and Xtran Ruiz stood out with delectable runs, hitting the opposition hoop with remarkable accuracy.
OIC really run like Stallions in their strategy to claim the initiative to dominate the last half, finally finishing with a 5-point advantage, 76-71. Milla finished with 29 and Ruiz 13. Rocero emerged the highest scorer in the game hitting 36 to pace the tailors’ loss.


Elsewhere in the 5’8” group, Espadero and Robert scored 24 and 19 points to lead Jelmer to a convincing 63-40 victory against Legend. The game was very much a lopsided affair in favor of Jelmer but the Legends also occasionally had their moments with Himes and Pasawilas finding the hoops for their side. The rounds ended 16-11, 34-19, 46-29 and 63-40. Himes finished with 13 while Pasawilas chipped in 9 to pace their side’s loss against the more formidable Jelmer squad.
Meanwhile, Hyndai was left licking their wounds after suffering a 67-37 defeat at the hands of Azkals. Their punctured egos caused them following their fall from disgrace after a glittering opening. The wind however seemed to steadily leak from Hyundai’s sails, as they staggered round after round to concede defeat, match ending 67-37 in the hands of Azkals.
Galandez and Rustia led scoring with 12 and 10 apiece to pace the Azkals scorecard in a game that saw all hands on deck to clinch the win.  The story on the opposition side however was different as Abanes and Augustine mostly did the scoring with their 18 and 8 markers while the rest was handled by a few other team mates in the loss.


Team Derby stole into a last-ditch win against EMS in the next match, finishing with a 4-point lead, 51-47 as Captain Matimtim and Gerald held their nerves to find the last four crucial baskets of the match to clinch the win. Matimtim dealt the opposition ring the heaviest pounding, scoring 19, with Gerald, the cliffhanger shooter, pitching the scoring higher by 12 points.
With both teams tying 12-12 at the close of round one, EMS roared to a 3-point advantage in round two on the backs of Alabe and Escalona who finished the game with 21 and 11. EMS stretched their lead to end the third quarter 39-31 and with mercury peaking in the final round, the baskets seared with shots and counter shots.
A series of one-point shots by EMS in the dying minutes of the match, answered neck-to-neck by Derby kept the game alive, bringing fans to the edges of their seats. However, pressure got to EMS in the dying seconds with Derby’s Matimtim and Gerald holding their nerves to score two points apiece, thus breaking the 47-47 deadlock to finish off in style at 51-47. Derby’s fans were rapturous when the whistle went off, the game safe in derby’s kitty.


Elsewhere on court number one, the match between Matrix and DND saw an amazing twist in the tail when Matrix trumped the DND squad with a yawning gap of 30 points to finish at 78-48. Both sides though were very aggressive on hitting the court in the opening round with Allen Occena for Matrix and Rex Daminge for DND vying for the lead. The round ended 19-12 for Matrix. 
Matrix were ahead through the rest of the rounds to the end of the game, 38-26, 58-34 and finally 78-48, despite Elli De La Cruz stepping up in support of Daminge to up their side’s scores. Occena took DND by storm shooting a barrage of baskets and ending up the lead scorer of his side at 16. The tornado unleashed by Occena rubbed on to teammates, who made decisive contributions, notably Edward Gueco who made 11.
Elsewhere in a group B 5’8” division encounter, Blue Thunder conceded defeat to Rated-PG, 46-58. PG dominated the game in all rounds with Santiago leading all scorers in the game hitting 22 for the side.

Leuterio supported Santiago with 12 points in the win. The rounds went 14-12, 31-18, 44-34 and 58-46 in favor of Rated-PG. Oaing and Alagao for Blue-Thunder also finished 18 and 13 apiece in the loss.
Panasonic went down against DMC 43-58 in the next game with Dave Catubig and Ramos scoring 19 and 17 apiece in the DMC win. The electronic giants ruled the second round 26-23 to role back a DMC first round 16-15 advantage, still ahead with a net 2 points. But their momentum soon fizzled off as DMC got back into the game with Catubig and Ramos finding the hoops at will in the final two rounds. Game ended 58-43 for DMC. Vinarao and Labra scored 12 and 8 for Panasonic.
In the rest of the group matches, Americana All Stars outshone First Kuwaiti 93-68 in an inter company game that saw Americana dominate all rounds. Sotelo scored 25 to facilitate the win while Simbol contributed 21. The First Kuwaiti side also had a star in the name of Casalla who finished with 22 points pacing them in the loss.

Also in the inter company division DHL narrowly won their game 80-78 against Go-Sport with Alex Ramacion scoring 37, almost half the DHL haul in the win supported by Arthur Pamatmat’s 19.  With the game essentially on the shoulders of a few individual players, the talismans of the Go-Sport side, Chris Moje and Ricky Matute also scored 32 and 20 in their side’s loss.
Heisco’s Al-Os scored a game-high 21 as his side bowed 63-90 to COE-Kharafi in another inter company bout. Alex Patiga, the best scorer of the Kharafi side finished with 16 with Esmeralda contributing 13 points in the win in the game that was Kharafi break off a round one 25-25 tie to lead in the rest of the rounds to the finish.

Also in the Open group, NADEC playing their second match of the day outplayed D’Lush to an 89-65 outcome in a game that saw the former dominate from round two to the end after a 13-13 first round tie. Alisbo scored 39 for NADEC while Camasu supported with 13 in the win.
Guardians went down against Open Kitchen restaurant 85-71 with Ken Najera and Collado scoring 44 points between the two in the restaurateurs’ Open division group win. Elsewhere in the group, FKTC edged LDJ-Illongo 95-91 while ATC won 67-64 against Major Homes-PANIK in the Inter Medical division penultimate clash.
Also in the inter medicals final game, Bayan Dental outshone Stallion 65-54 courtesy Jayson Santillan and EJ who shot 19 and 10 to script the win. Sid Bakili for Stallions also finished with 16.




 


By: Iddris Seidu

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