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BULLDOGS INCH PAST JFK

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By Niko Bulaon

Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja shoots for two over Islanders’ Rufina Royster. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja shoots for two over Islanders’ Rufina Royster. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Okkodo Bulldogs’ miraculous comeback was the story of the night, defeating the JFK Islanders, 43-42, in a head-to-head battle through the whole game.

Fourth quarter was enough time for the Bulldogs to take over, but with the Islanders riding right beside them, Okkodo had to push their ambition to a higher level.

Only 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, Okkodo’s all-star Felicia Borja laid in a basket to tie the game, 32-32. But a quick two-pointer from Islanders Cianna Reyes put her team back in the lead.

The Islanders’ aggressiveness came with a price; multiple fouls and several turnovers by JFK gave their opponents a chance to take the lead.

After a layup from Bulldogs Anissa Dela Rosa to tie the game yet again, a second chance shot from Xaven Jesser put Okkodo in the lead for the first time in the game, 36-34. But a free throw shot from Rufina Royster and a two-pointer from center Alison Bowman, gave the Islanders their lead back.

Borja’s aggressiveness and quickness on offense put her on the line after fouls from JFK, connecting her free throws to put her team ahead. After several lead changes, a shot by Royster put the Islanders in the lead with 40 seconds left. But another JFK foul put Borja back on the line to tie the game, 42-42.

As the clock winded down, the Bulldogs fouled Bowman to give her a chance of taking back the lead with only 14 seconds on the clock. Unable to connect the free throw shot, Borja pushed her way up the court, forcing the Islanders to foul. Six seconds left on the clock, Borja landed her last free throw shot to put the Bulldogs up by one.

Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez shoots the short jumper over Islanders’ Rufina Royster. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez shoots the short jumper over Islanders’ Rufina Royster. (photo by Jesse Castro)

A turnover from Okkodo gave the Islanders one last chance, but Bowman’s last second shot for the win was short of the basket, giving Okkodo the hard-fought game to end the night.

“We just wanted to take this win as a team,” commented Borja on her team’s comeback. “And go home happy. We gave our best out there.”

The Islanders aim to take the game showed right at tipoff. Bowman’s easy layup and a free throw from Borja put their teams on the board. Wanting to push their lead further, Islanders’ point-guard Anita Onedera connected a three-pointer. With Borja under pressure from JFK’s tight defense, the first quarter ended with the Islanders up, 7-3.

Only 30 seconds into the second quarter, Reyes put in another layup. Taking their lead further, the Islanders kept the Bulldogs in a scoring slump. The Bulldogs landed no basket they had shot, putting in all their nine points in the quarter from free throws.

With Okkodo far behind, JFK kept their balance, connecting layups and taking any shot they could to keep their lead. With 20 seconds left in the quarter, Islanders’ freshman Brittney Meno took off in a fast break layup to extend her team’s lead to 11 before the buzzer sounded, giving the Islanders a breather coming back into the game.

A halftime talk with Coach Mar DeGuzman was the Bulldogs’ motivator. Coming back onto the court, Borja sliced through the Islanders’ defense to lay in another basket in only the first minute to boost her team.

With JFK still pressuring Borja, Chyna Ramirez stepped up to give the Islanders another player to worry about: hitting back-to-back shots and connecting a quick three-pointer in just two minutes, the Bulldogs tied with their opponents for the first time, 23-23. But the Islanders weren’t going to give in so easily; second chance shots by Reyes and Bowman put their team back on top.

Another three-pointer from Ramirez put her team a point away from JFK but a three-point play from Royster and a breakaway layup from Meno had the Islanders’ lead still intact, 32-28. With 15 seconds left on the clock, Borja made her way up the court, passed the hard defense of the Islanders, to make in another layup, cutting JFK’s lead to only two.

“I’m used to it,” commented Borja on the extra pressure she had endured most of the game. “I just keep my head in the game and give my team what I can do. I try my best and I guess it always goes my way because I never give up and I never give up on my team. I just look forward to winning the game.”

Borja led the Bulldogs with 19 points, four rebounds, and a steal with the help of Ramirez with 11 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Despite the loss, Bowman led her team with eight points, a block, three steals, and a game-high 15 rebounds.

In the only other game of the night, the St. Paul Warriors knocked off the Harvest Eagles 56-36.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Islanders’ Anita Onedera shoots for three over Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Anita Onedera shoots for three over Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Juls Taitano tries to put the ball up for two. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Juls Taitano tries to put the ball up for two. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Shaira Cortez steps in for a lay-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Shaira Cortez steps in for a lay-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Xaven Jesser drives the ball towards the key for a lay-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Xaven Jesser drives the ball towards the key for a lay-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Cianna Reyes steals the ball away from Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Cianna Reyes steals the ball away from Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez tries to get a shot off between two Islanders defenders. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez tries to get a shot off between two Islanders defenders. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Alison Bowman grabs the rebound over Bulldogs’ Xaven Jesser. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Alison Bowman grabs the rebound over Bulldogs’ Xaven Jesser. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Alison Bowman shoots for the hoop over Bulldogs’ Tonni Arellano. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Alison Bowman shoots for the hoop over Bulldogs’ Tonni Arellano. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Tonni Arellano tries to get a shot off against the defense of Islanders’ Alison Bowman. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Tonni Arellano tries to get a shot off against the defense of Islanders’ Alison Bowman. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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