BOMI Ralik Ratak playoffs come down to Lae, Majuro, Kwajalein and one other team pretty much every year. The 15th BOMI Ralik Ratak Shootout that wrapped up Monday night at CMI’s SSG Solomon Sam Sports Center was no different, though there were plenty of interesting games, and close calls on the way to the playoffs.
This year, the “other” team was a tough Ailinglaplap Lan Em Atari that looked destined to knock off the visiting Kwajalein team for the third place title. Down three points, with under 15 seconds left to play, Ailinglaplap got the ball to sharpshooter Raul Quinit in three-point land. With five seconds on the clock he fired up an off balance shot from downtown and was hammered by a Kwajalein defender. Despite the foul, the shot zinged through the net giving him 26 points for the game and tying the score at 81-all with five seconds to play. He wasn’t able to convert the free throw and in the scramble for the rebound, Ailinglaplap fouled. Kwajalein player Mosa Jamore went to the line with two seconds left and a chance to win the game. He missed his first free throw increasing the drama, but made the second and that was the final: 82-81, Kwajalein.
Meantime, thousands jammed the court area for the annual clash between defending champ Lae and Majuro. Majuro led for most of the way until the fourth quarter, when an effective Lae full court press caused numerous turnovers that led to quick baskets. Behind the shooting of Boki Hiram, the tournament’s MVP, and point guard Yuzzi Maddison, who both scored 18 points, Lae retained its title, defeating Majuro 70-66. Joshua Rilang scored 19 for Majuro. Lae Coach Thomas Heine was named coach of the tournament.
In women’s action last week, Majuro came back from early losses to win what turned into a best-three-out-of-five series with Maloelap. The Maloelap women lost the first encounter but won the next two, surprising Majuro, which has dominated women’s action in recent years. But Majuro rolled to victory in the next two games to take this year’s title. Majuro’s Loni Yaingeluo was named MVP for the women’s bracket, and her dad and Coach Dr. James Yaingeluo won coach of the tournament honors, coincidentally on his birthday.