Team Central takes Merv Lopes tourney

PUHI — Team Central division 1 finished undefeated over four days of basketball. On Sunday it defeated Imua division 1 of Maui, 56-43, to clinch the seventh annual Merv Lopes Kauai Classic Hoops tournament at the Wilcox Gym at Island School.

“We worked on passes and the bigs,” said Rich Colipano Jr., the Team Central division 1 assistant coach. “We had the bigs work the inside and passed the ball around. With the bigs on the inside, we have perimeter and outside shooters — the outside shot from Jassem Cumlat and his ability to move the ball was huge for us. But the bigs were a big help for us.”

Colipano said Imua was a tough team, getting past the Alaska team coached by former Kapaa High School standout Roland Hepa and was undefeated until the title game.

Imua, a summer program from Maui, finished the tournament by capturing runner-up spots in division 2 and division 1. Its division 1 girls team got past Upcountry Elite, another Maui program, for its sole title trophy.

Cumlat finished the day with 15 points to lead the Team Central win, dropping nine in the second half. He got help from Melvin Tingzon in the paint with 14 points on seven buckets. Joshua Blain notched 10 points and Kealii Colipano added eight points in the win.

Imua, bringing multiple teams to the Merv Lopes tournament, picked up its gold medal after its girls division 1 team ran off with a 52-27 win over the Upcountry Elite.

Division 2, or the junior varsity division, went to Hepa’s Barrow Whalers from Alaska who downed the Imua team, 57-44.

Clarence Sales of Team Central, coordinator of the tournament, said Division 3 was taken by the Upcountry Elite who defeated the Kiawe Heat for the title.

“We are so lucky these teams come to play, here,” Sales said. “And they all talk about coming back. I guess I’m going to have to work on No. 8 of the Merv Lopes Kauai Hoops Classic.”


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