KUWAIT CITY, April 4: Ron De Guzman hit a 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds to hand Harley a 69-55 victory over Marina Vikings in game one of the Kuwait Pilipino Basketball Association’s (KPBA) inter-company division on Friday afternoon at the Qadsia Sports Club in Hawally.
The Harley guard was 8 for 13 from the field and added six assists while his team mates ace forward Jun added 13 points and Donnie the captain pulled down 15 rebounds and added 10 points to his side’s slate in the inter-company clash.
Vikings took an early 6-point lead in the first quarter, and then pulled away again in the second to finish with a 2-point lead midway into the game. But a Harley rally ignited by Jun early in the third saw the visitors pull within two points with 7:40 still left to play in the round.
Harley’s stalwart defender Nino picked up his fifth foul and left for an early shower late in the third quarter with still 3:40 left in the quarter, making way for Nico to partner with De Guzman for swift midcourt runs. Guzman contested a shot and missed, grabbed an offensive rebound and followed with a second-chance score bringing a boost of energy as Harley rallied to revive their fortunes.
Guzman powered Harley to a 60-51 lead with 11 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the third. He was 4 for 4 from 3-point range in the game totally. He made his first three shots, all from behind the arc during the first 3 minutes.
Nico stole the ball from Viking’s Bautista and converted it into a breakaway layup, then intercepted a pass by Mark to set up another breakaway layup by Donnie 13 seconds later. That sent Harley cruising ahead in the final stretch. Viking attempted 3 free throws in the third quarter and made 1, but didn’t get to the line again until Katakutan converted one of two with 36 seconds left in the final quarter.
Guzman’s layup and free throw sent Harley surging 7 points ahead. His 3-pointer with 30 seconds left gave the visitors a 9-point cushion at the close of the third after a 25-14 run that brought the overall score to 68-55. Harley rolled on to conclude the final quarter after a 24-15 spurt that sealed their victory at 69-55 at the buzzer.
Elsewhere in the 5’9” division, Manalo scored 49 points; Canlas added 19 and 12 rebounds as Western State Blades recorded their first victory of the season with a 101-71 pulsating run over IFSI in the next game. Jojo had 19 points and PJ added 11 in the IFSI loss. The IFSI turned the ball over 23 times leading to 32 Blades points.
In other 5’9” series games, Bisdak won 70-66 against Kuwait Pirates in a foul-riddled game that saw Bisdak rebound from two points down in the opening quarter to take a commanding lead in the second on the efforts of Rustia who finished with a game-high 26 points. The Fajardo-led Pirates rallied in the third and fourth but could only manage a claw back of some of their deficit, as Marmito partnered with Rustia in their barrages for the Bisdak surge ahead to finish the game 4 points ahead, at 70-66.
Meanwhile, Osik lost 52-88 to Tigers in the penultimate of the 5’9” series, Mariano and Darrel leading the charge. Mariano had 19 with Darrel adding 11 in the win. Also, in the final game Bahay Kubo restaurant lost narrowly to Hotshots, 65-69.
By Iddris Seidu – Arab Times Staff