(MENAFN - Arab News) In a headline match between two undefeated teams in Inter-Company Group A Arabian Point Eight Power Co. Ltd. (APEP) of team manager Lhito Bautista overcame a shaky second quarter to beat Rawabi Holding 97-93 and grab the solo lead in team standings at 4-0 in the 15th UFBF Open Basketball Tournament at Al Qadisia gymnasium here.
After leading 23-18 in the opening quarter the 22-year old fitness instructor James Chua and the lanky Saudi Ibrahim Naif starred in APEP's second quarter chase after Naif recovered the ball on Chua's passing error and drove to the basket for 47-46 to end the first half.
Chua and Naif led APEP with 21 points apiece Ricardo Sotto added 17 while James Bayangos Randy Sotto Ceasar Java and Reynaldo Siban each had 8 markers.
Rawabi drew a big game from its prized cager Marlon Valdez who had a monstrous performance of 47 points 18 of them in the last quarter only to fade against the more composed APEP in end game. Valdez also had 12 rebounds while teammate Joselito Asuncion added 15 markers and Aldwin Santos and Manoling Angeles 10 points apiece.
After a temporary meltdown APEP immediately went on a rampage as Chua Randy Sotto and Naif opened the third quarter with an 8-0 blast that gave them the lead 55-46 3 minutes gone in the period while Rawabi committed 4 costly errors on the other end. Valdez and Angeles had Rawabi pull within 4 points 51-55 4:39 minutes remaining. Ricardo's six straight points and Java's four gave APEP a 14-point lead 65-51 inside the 2 minutes mark. Valdez responded with a bucket and five free-throw shots but Naif completed a steal and Siban drained a triple for a 70-57 spread 43 ticks left and Chua finished the third quarter with a lay-up shot to make it another 14-point game 72-58.
Valdez reasserted his might in the last canto with his multiple trips to the line and scored Rawabi's 13 fourth quarter points that trimmed the deficit to just 3 points 84-87 1:12 minuteseft. But Chua's athlethecism worked as he responded with a couple of steals an assist and a basket despite playing with a sore right knee he suffered early in the third quarter. Naif and Ricardo provided the finishing and put the game away with Naif's two charities.
Clippers Team of Sancho Sandoval overcame a first quarter 20-28 setback before carving out a 98-89 victory over Samurai in Junior D-3 division.
Playing in this league's one-player-two teams format the indefatigueable James Chua caught fire at the start of second quarter with his tremendous inside incursions to score four and Jerome Lazaro's two making it a one-game possession 26-28 and again Chua knotted the game at 28-all with a putback basket 8:14 minutes left in the period.
Chua led Clippers with 21 points and Lazaro took care of the ball so well to score 20 markers including 4 triples while getting big support from last season's MVP Mclean Lontoc 16 points and Mark Vergara who had a surprisingly quiet game with 12 points but came up big with a three-point shot making it 48-44 56 seconds left in the second quarter. Win Mangulabnan Denmark Plana and Louie Hernandez combined for 19 points.
Boyet Katigbak topscored for Samurai with 23 points and had 8 rebounds Philip Chacon added 16 Allan Butito chipped in 15 while Jay-R Ventura and Rhod Razalan had 14 and 12 points but was beaten in the three-point territory shooting just 4 as against Clippers' 11.
Samurai scored the first four points of the third period via Chacon and Ronnel Marfil's twinner to make it a one-point deficit 50-49. However Clippers' five unleashed an 11-0 run to widen the lead anew at 61-50 after Oliver Gonzales' trey 6:57 minutes remaining. Jay-R Ventura banked in a long three after Samurai timeout to cut Clippers' lead down to eight 53-61. After the two teams exchanged baskets inside the 4-minute play back-to-back triples from Jun Moneva and Mangulabnan had Clippers on top 79-67 at end of the period.