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TYPHOONS STORM INTO FINALS

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By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre, Jr.

Typhoons Derrick Royster puts in a layup against Four Stars Garry Phillip. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The top seeded Tamuning Typhoons were given a scare during their Summer Jamz semifinal basketball game as they nearly lost to the fifth-seeded Four Stars Thursday night at the Tamuning Gym.

The scrappy style of the Four Stars proved to be a difficult task to overcome for the stacked Typhoons team as they trailed for the entire second half of regulation. But after Typhoons’ eight-year veteran, Edgardo Baza, scored six straight points off of critical free throws and a game-tying put back layup, the Typhoons were able to push the game into overtime and come out on top with the 52-49 win.

“I knew that [my free throws] were going in once I shot them. I wanted to be the one to shoot those (technical foul) free throws,” stated Baza.

It was an intense game throughout as both teams looked to take fearless drives to the basket instead of attempting shots at the perimeter. On top of that, not a single three-pointer was scored the entire game. The Typhoons were able to jump on top early with an 8-0 lead until Four Stars’ Gino Soulik scored his team’s first points off an offensive rebound that sparked a back-to-back scoring frenzy by both teams. After continuously capitalizing on shots at the charity stripe, the Typhoons were able to maintain a small lead up until the closing seconds of the half. However, they soon saw themselves trailing, 23-24, at the end of the half following a brief scoring run by the Four Stars.

The relentless defense of the Four Stars was definitely a problem for the Typhoons, but the experience of the Typhoons proved to be an important factor as they figured out the weakness to the Four Stars’ aggressive style of play: they used their strength to get to basket and draw multiple fouls in attempt to get into the bonus early.

Four Stars Jayme Saperna makes this short one-on-one jumper contended by Typhoons Michael Sakazaki. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Down 43-23 and with just under four minutes left in the game, Typhoons head coach called a timeout to gather her team back together.

“I told my team, ‘This is game is not over yet! Until the final buzzer goes off, this game is not over. You will play as hard as you can!’ And then I called for a full-court defense play that we use all the time, and that’s what really discombobulated them. And that’s what caused the turnovers that made us score and catch up and then the motivation started change and the momentum started going our way,” said coach of the Typhoons, Elsa Ulloa.

While in the bonus for much of the second half, the Typhoons were given 22 shots at the charity stripe. The Typhoons took advantage of the opportunities as 16 of their 22 second-half-points came from free throws. With the game tied at 45 apiece and just four seconds left in the game, the Four Stars frantically tried to put up a shot from the inbound, however they were unable to finish.

Derrick Royster, using his height to his advantage, opened up the overtime with a reverse layup amongst the smaller-statured Four Stars. A few free throws later, the Typhoons extended their lead to three, and the Four Stars were unable to come back.

Typhoons Joe Blas and Four Stars’ Soulik led all scorers with 18 points apiece.

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