|JULY 29, 2007 -- The Richmond Wolfpack held off the Untouchables, 66-60, to reach the championship game. As a result, the Untouchables will drop to the Losers Bracket, but because they are coming off this last Winners' Bracket round, they will hold the advantage going into the last game.|
You see, normally in dreamleague's double-elim brackets, we only have the 2nd-to-last survivor of the Losers Bracket and the loser of the Winners Bracket left for the last weekend, with the winner of that one to face the winner of the Winners' Bracket on the same day for the championship. However, as you can see in the Upper Playoff Brackets link at the top of the AAA-P homepage, this season's 17-team foray was ultra-complicated. In fact, we made a mistake. We should have eliminated more teams earlier on in the Losers Bracket to avoid this problem. Well, that's kind of hard to predict at the same time.
So I think that despite having the #1 and #2 seeds as the other two Losers' Bracket teams, the fair thing to do is to have the loser of the Winners Bracket have the advantage in the Losers Bracket because, after all, they advanced the farthest in the Winners Bracket before heading down to the Losers Bracket.
The other side of the coin has an almost equal argument by having a top seed in the Losers Bracket, but it all boils down to the decision I had to make this time around, and I think we'll add this to the rules for future reference, because it's easy to remember and rewards length of survival in the Winners Bracket (as compared to rewarding survival in the Losers Bracket).
So anyways, back to the game. The Untouchables dug themselves a little hole in the 2nd quarter when they combined to go just 4-for-17 from the field. Vince Chooi was just 2-for-9 from downtown at the half, in which the Untouchables trailed by 7 points. The Wolfpack added two more points to the buffer to take a 46-37 lead into the 3rd quarter, thanks to Jimmy Manivanh's 4-for-4 from the field. Meanwhile, the Untouchables started out cold, going 0-for-6 and falling behind by as much as 30-42 until Ariel Dimpasoc finally hit a shot. James Manalang combined with Chooi to add 6 more misses from three-point land.
In the 4th, the Untouchables couldn't break the ice and had a 45-55 deficit with 3:45 remaining. Chooi finally got hot, going 4-for-5 from downtown in the quarter, but Vanhsai Nompraseurt went 6-for-6 from the line to seal the deal.
Ballin' sets up #1-#2 showdown
Ballin' ended the T.L Bombers' fabulous run in the playoffs, 61-56, to advance to a #1 vs #2 showdown against Kurruption in the Losers Bracket. TLB got outscored 16-5 in the 2nd quarter and couldn't quite recover. Ballin's Mike Reyes was unstoppable, scoring at least 6 points every quarter to finish with 28 points and 13 rebounds. As a team, Ballin' shot 7-for-11 in the 2nd quarter while TLB shot just 2-for-8.
TLB made some adjustments and rallied to a 32-44 end-of-third-quarter deficit, as center Steve Chow, who got outplayed on the boards by Reyes with only 6 rebounds, and Mike Siv hit critical free throws.
In the 4th, TLB's Kerwin Uy scored 9 of his 16 points and led a 24-17 comeback that fell short. Outside of Reyes, Ballin' shot just 3-for-14 in the 4th, but held on to win. Ballin's Nic Vu scored 13 points on 3-for-9 from downtown and Shin Iwata added 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, but went just 1-for-8 in the 2nd half.
TLB has trouble when captain Siv has to lead the charge rather than direct traffic. Chow wasn't that effective, ending with only 8 points, but neither was anyone else besides Uy. Siv shouldered the load with 17 points, which was not what TLB usually wants.
T.L Bombers continue upset streak
Prior to the TLB elimination to Ballin', the 13th-seeded TLB continued its defeat of higher seeds with a 56-50 elimination of a similar veteran #6 Colonizers. Siv scored 12 of his 19 points in the 2nd quarter and Henry Tran scored 10 of his 16 in the 3rd to give TLB the cushion it needed to pull out the win. Chow also added 16 rebounds to hold down the fort.
The Colonizers' Vince Lau put the team on his back in the 4th, scoring 12 of his 24 points and grabbing 5 of his eventual 8 rebounds. Lau also had 4 steals and scored the last 15 Colonizer points, dating back to late in the 3rd quarter. But no one else on his team stepped up. Bao Le missed his last 5 shots, Freddie Kwong had zero rebounds in the 2nd half, Victor Le committed 4 turnovers in the 2nd half, Allan Kwong missed his last 3 shots, and Mike Lai finished with just 1 point, shooting 0-for-5 from the field. No other Colonizer finished in double-digit scoring.
Kurruption overcomes RNG
On the other side of the Losers Bracket, Kurruption squeaked past RNG, 37-35, to send RNG packing. RNG took a 22-13 lead into halftime as Kurruption shot bricks in the 2nd quarter, shooting 1-for-17. But RNG fell into a rut in the 2nd half. Both teams shot poorly in the 3rd, with RNG shooting 2-for-13 and Kurruption 3-for-17, but RNG couldn't get out of its funk in the 4th and squandered a 28-19 4th quarter lead. RNG shot just 2-for-14 as they fell short. Kurruption's Brennan Fong, David Mendoza, and Deep Basra hit clutch treys to pull Kurruption back into the game.
RNG's star guard Brent Natsume finished with a game-high 13 points, but shot just 5-for-17 in the brickfest. It was a brickfest because the subsequent leading scorers in the game had horrible shooting stats. Teammate Chuck Senduk appeared to break out of his slump from last week with 8 points in the 1st quarter, but he missed his last 7 attempts. Jeremy Nakamoto went 1-for-9 plus 0-for-2 from the line. Reuben Au Yeung collected 10 boards and blocked 2 shots, but went 0-for-4 from the field.
For Kurruption, Fong's trey was his only made field goal, finishing 1-for-8. Derek Finney was 4-for-16, including 0-for-2 from the charity stripe, to go along with 11 rebounds. Basra shot just 3-for-10 to go along with 8 boards and 1 block. Mendoza led Kurruption with 11 points on 4-for-10 from the field.
RNG beats TheOcho in sudden-death
Prior to the Kurruption-RNG game, RNG eliminated TheOcho in a thrilling triple-overtime sudden-death match, 52-50. Nakamoto hit the deciding bucket after the 1st overtime in which stars Natsume and Senduk matched a two and a trey with TheOcho's stars guard Scott Kyono and forward Joe Momand.
TheOcho actually came back from a 31-14 halftime deficit. They came out of the gate scoring just 5 points, as Natsume led the way for RNG with 9 of his eventual 22 points and 10 big rebounds for the ballhandling guard. Tri Pham and Momand were bricking left and right. RNG went up 17-5, then took the 14-point lead by halftime.
Delbert Tsoi then put TheOcho on his back and scored 11 of the next 13 points for TheOcho, pulling them to 29-39 heading into the 4th. Momand and Pham hit big treys in the 4th and TheOcho limited RNG to just 6 points in the 4th to send the game into overtime. I wish we had more info to report on the action, but that's all we got. Any buzzer-beaters and the like, send an email to the league office and we'll post it after-the-fact next week.
Momand ended a great intro season by TheOcho with 13 points and 11 boards. Kyono tallied 11 points and 4 steals. Tsoi collected 13 points, going 9-for-11 from the free throw line.