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BULLDOGS HEAD TO FINALS

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By Regina Shiroma

Friars' Jonathan Onedera defends the three point shot from Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Jonathan Onedera defends the three point shot from Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

They had the best record all season, and on paper, they looked like they had the win in the bag. They were bigger and stronger, but in a night of upsets, the Okkodo Bulldogs overthrew the top-ranked FD Friars 62-45 in their semifinal bout Thursday night at the JFK gym.

“It feels good to finally beat that top team. Even though they were way bigger than us, we knew we could fight; we could put up a game with them,” said Okkodo’s Aaron Blaz who was a big defensive help throughout the game.

After five lead changes and three ties, the Bulldogs began to pull away with less than four minutes left on the clock. Tied at 41-all, Bulldog’s Joseph Ruppen dropped in a layup and on his way down was fouled. Ruppen made the and-one shot and the Bulldogs took off from there. With one minute, forty left in regulation, Okkodo’s Keeno Madrazo took a wide open shot at the three that had the northern school’s fans jumping to their feet, holding three fingers in the air as the ball swished through the net. Now leading 49-43, the fans became more antsy as the end came near. The Friars saw some life when Christian Chang scored a quick basket off an inbound play, however this would be the last basket of the game they’d make with one and a half minutes left.

Scrambling for the ball, FD committed numerous fouls giving the Bulldogs five opportunities at the line. Going 10 for 11, Okkodo jumped ahead 59-45 with 30 seconds left. Sensing the victory, the Okkodo crowd began to cheer for their team. Blaz intercepted a pass and converted the layup to seal the deal. And for the icing on the cake Garren Reyes scored their last points of the game right before the buzzer went off.

McDonald's defensive player of the game: Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz. 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals

McDonald’s Defensive Player of the Game: Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz. 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists

McDonald's Offensive Player of the Game: 25 points

McDonald’s Offensive Player of the Game: Bulldogs’ Joseph Ruppen. 24 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal

Blaz proved to be a defensive threat tallying five steals (three in the fourth quarter) and grabbing six rebounds.

“The coaches told me every time out, entering the half, ‘Just move your feet, work on that D.’ In my mind I was like, I don’t care about scoring, I want to play D for the team,” said Blaz.

On the other side of the ball, Ruppen was a thorn in the side of FD’s defense. Ruppen led with a game high of 24 points, including three and-one plays.

“We’re going to practice hard, get lots of rest and hopefully…win,” said Ruppen after the game.

The Bulldogs will face the St. Johns Knights in Saturday’s championship game at the UOG Field House at 7P.M. Watch live video streaming of the game from the GSPN website!

 

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PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Friars' Michael Sakazaki scores the easy put back lay in. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Michael Sakazaki scores the easy put back lay in. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Joel Oyardo attempts the fade away over Friars' Michael Sakazaki and Bruce Merrill after grabbing the offensive rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Bulldogs’ Joel Oyardo attempts the fade away over Friars’ Michael Sakazaki and Bruce Merrill after grabbing the offensive rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' John Baza dribbles around the defense of Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ John Baza dribbles around the defense of Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Nick Aglubat soars through the defense of Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz to score the first basket of the game. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Nick Aglubat soars through the defense of Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz to score the first basket of the game. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' John Baza attempts the hard fought layup but gets denied from behind by an outreached hand of Bulldogs' Neil Oledan. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ John Baza attempts the hard fought layup but gets denied from behind by an outreached hand of Bulldogs’ Neil Oledan. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Garren Reyes laughs as he scores the layup after pump faking Friars' Jonathan Onedera pas him on the fast break. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Bulldogs’ Garren Reyes laughs as he scores the layup after pump-faking Friars’ Jonathan Onedera past him on the fast break. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Michael Sakazaki attempts the mid range jump shot over the defense of Bulldogs' Neil Oledan and Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Michael Sakazaki attempts the mid range jump shot over the defense of Bulldogs’ Neil Oledan and Aaron Blaz. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Joel Oyardo utilizes his speed to get the ball quickly down court on offense. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Bulldogs’ Joel Oyardo utilizes his speed to get the ball quickly down court on offense. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Bruce Merrill attempts the wide open three pointer. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Bruce Merrill attempts the wide open three pointer. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Nick Aglubat sinks the wide open mid range shot. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Nick Aglubat sinks the wide open mid range shot. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Christian Chang brings in the defensive rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Christian Chang brings in the defensive rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz attempts the half court shot in the closing seconds of the first quarter. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz attempts the half court shot in the closing seconds of the first quarter. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Christian Chang tries to contest the long jump shot from Bulldogs' Joseph Ruppen. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Friars’ Christian Chang tries to contest the long jump shot from Bulldogs’ Joseph Ruppen. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Joseph Ruppen attempts a layup between the Twin Towers, Friars' Michael Sakazaki and Christian Chang. (photo by Errol Alegre, jr.)

Bulldogs’ Joseph Ruppen attempts a layup between the Twin Towers, Friars’ Michael Sakazaki and Christian Chang. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

 

WATCH THE KNIGHTS AND BULLDOGS LIVE ON WWW.GUAMSPORTSNETWORK.COM SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.

 

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