Proa, Blue Haus draw first blood
NMC/Lions Club's Proa completed a solid 81-59 statement win over two-time defending champion Mobil-Smiles in the 3rd QQ Car Rental Basketball Cup season opener last Saturday at the Garapan Basketball Court.
Proa also won best uniform honors during the opening ceremony, while Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell topped the best muse category.
Unfortunately for the latter, however the group did not nearly show as well on the court and succumbed to a veteran Blue Haus band, 72-46.
The other competing teams include KB Mart and Hite who will face off in Garapan tonight at 6pm followed by the 8pm feature.
Proa broke out to a swift 29-13 lead from the tip as Mobil appeared flat and maybe a little rusty in its debut.
Lerio Pagarao and Ivan Devero shared the reins in the first quarter for Proa and tallied 7 points apiece.
Proa then stretched it out to a hefty 45-25 separation at the half as Mobil became frustrated after missing a number of close-range attempts.
Mobil did manage to ring in 11 free throws in the first two periods, but was running out of time if the team wanted to posture a comeback.
Proa manned down the fort rather well after the pause and maintained a comfortable 60-43 cushion heading into the fourth quarter. Pagarao and Jack Lizama fronted Proa's third wave with a pair of baskets.
Mobil's Jun Estolas tried to get things rolling in the second half, but the team fell too far behind by the start of the last canto and were pretty much manhandled for the majority of the match.
Proa did not let up late in the minutes and ran up the score a little bit as if to send a message to the rest of the field that they are a force to be reckoned with this time around.
Lizama and Pagarao both finished with 15 points, while Mobile's Estolas led the field with 20.
Both Blue Haus and KFC/Taco Bell, meanwhile, started slow in the second match, but the former grinded out a 13-8 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
KFC/Taco Bell closed it back to a one-possession game at the half, 25-22, and likely would've turned the tables on its foes if not for a pair of 3-pointers that fell true for Blue Haus in the second quarter.
Any initial doubts as to whether the old school Blue Haus crew could control the pace of the game disappeared in the third quarter when the veteran group barreled ahead, 45-33, heading into crunch time.
Elmer Esdrelon carried the torch in Blue Haus' bug push with 11 points as the crew dominated the boards and did a good job forcing the smaller KFC/Taco Bell team to play half court basketball.
Blue Haus went on to rub its opponents' noses in the dirt in the fourth quarter and flirted with a 30-point spread at the end of the game.
Brendon Talania logged 12 of his 16 points in the final stanza, just a basket shy of Esdrelon's game-high total. John Joyner led KFC/Taco Bell with a dozen markers.
NMC Proa/Lions Club 81 - Lizama 15, Pagarao 15, Libuw 10, Ogumoro 10, Devero 9, Demapan 8, Yabut 5, Babauta 4, Valdez 4, Lerio 1.
Mobil 59 - Estolas 20, De Guzman 10, Peredo 9, Rabauliman 9, Camacho 7, Mangali 2, Sharry 1.
Scoring by quarters: 29-13, 45-25, 60-43, 81-59.
Blue Haus 72 - Esdrelon 18, Talania 16, Berline 8, Barbo 7, Galarse 7, David 6, Guiab 4, Muleta 4, Fernandez 2.
KFC/Taco Bell 46 - Joyner 12, Aranda 9, Bernardo 8, Palacios 6, Maranan 4, Fernando 2, Francisco 2, Abuel 2, Mangali 1.
Scoring by quarters: 13-8, 25-22, 45-33, 72-46.