SEMBAWANG, SINGAPORE – Basketball is said to be a team sport, and no one does it better than Adrian Fan. The wirey Point Guard displayed composure beyond his years and a natural court vision that allowed him to drop pinpoint dimes to open teammates all game long — including the oft wide-open Gian Carlo Isleta who best benefited from Fan’s unselfish play. The Darkstars had their gameplan locked down to a tee, and their opponent, the ill-prepared Team Gwapo, seemed to be grasping at straws trying to decipher the Darkstars’ efficient play.
Possession after possession, Fan would work the passing lanes and thread the needle at even the smallest of openings. On the other end, would be Isleta waiting for an easy two, or a pull up jumper. Fastbreaks were a thing of beauty, as the dynamic duo of Isleta and Fan slowly wore down their opponents through 3 Quarters. By the 4th and final quarter, Team Gwapo was completely out of it and only managed two measly points down the stretch.
Obviously undermanned and outgunned, Team Gwapo relied heavily on perennial All-Star, Lloyd Nogot, who pretty much got to wherever he wanted on the floor. Save for a few missed layups at point-blank range, Nogot was the only consistent scoring threat for Team Gwapo, and at times kept his team within striking distance. But nevertheless, one man cannot simply do it alone and the brutal efficiency of the Darkstars erratic tempo proved too much to handle.
Adrian Fan dissected the defense like a master surgeon, en-route to a buck load of assists that saw his teammates get more points on the board. Isleta was all over the place and when he was clearly feeling it, his teammates kept feeding him the ball, which resulted in a plethora of acrobatic finishes at the rim. The superstar guard moves right behind the Silent Assassins’ Vic De Vera as the league’s second leading scorer with 25 points, dangerously nipping at the heels.
Forward Julius Manlutac also chipped in 10 points for the surging Darkstars, and provided a solid go-to option in the post. His size and strength is certainly an asset should the Darkstars need some emergency baskets.
Team Captain Adrian Fan, a pass-first player, quietly finished with 8 points.
It just wasn’t Team Gwapo’s day. Aside from Lloyd Nogot, who netted 18 points of his own, Team Gwapo’s regular contributors struggled from the field — most notably Xtan Alvarez who managed just a sub-par 6 points. Alvarez carried the team during the Pre-Season, and at times was the first scoring option. Also having difficulty was Team Captian Lyndon Gomez, who failed to establish himself on the inside and ended up with just 7 points. Both Alvarez and Gomez need to step it up in the next game to have a chance.
And you know things are going wrong when hot shot Lee Roy could only muster 2 points, a far cry from the boost of energy he usually is off the bench. Look for Team Gwapo to have all their issues settled by the next game, and their identity figured out.
ADR – Adrian Fan’s reach included Drandreb Quillope 4 pts., Frandel Asuncion 7 pts., and Deo John Dogidnon 4 pts. The Darkstars controlled the tempo of the game and ran at full throttle, never running out of gas even without the services of regulars Don Ismael and Dranoel Loyola.
LYN – Team Gwapo got very little help from their bench, and will need amplified production if they hope to compete for the championship. Eugene Fuentes contributed 4 pts., Anthony Holgado 2 pts., and Hart Jason Tolentino also with 2 pts.