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COUGARS HALT BULLDOG RALLY

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By Niko Bulaon

Cougars Gemilie Ilao passes the ball baseline to an open teammate (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Gemilie Ilao passes the ball baseline to an open teammate (photo by Jose Perez)

In front of a packed Okkodo gym, the undefeated Academy Cougars outran the Okkodo Bulldogs, 64-52, giving them their second loss of the season Saturday night.

With the Cougars’ enormous lead of 38-16 going into the third quarter, it seemed Academy would cruise through the second half after a three-pointer from Gemilie Ilao. But with Bulldogs’ top-scorer Felicia Borja back in after a tough first half, Okkodo gained slight momentum after a quick three-pointer that put the crowd on their feet.

As Okkodo’s offense started to gain ground, a block from Cougars Kali Benavente stunned her opponents; a three-pointer from Alina “ICE” Bonto kept Academy’s lead intact, 47-26. But with only a minute left in the quarter, the Bulldogs pushed the ball up to rack up six quick points from Borja and teammate Juls Taitano before the buzzer sounded, slowly cutting into their opponents’ lead, 47-32.

At the start of the fourth, Academy grew their lead once again, going on a 12-0 run in the first three minutes, 59-32. Okkodo, however, didn’t show one sign of letting up; another three-pointer from Borja lit up the Bulldogs’ crowd to hope for a comeback.

Cougars Kiersten Pangilinan splits the defense and makes the layup. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Kiersten Pangilinan splits the defense and makes the layup. (photo by Jose Perez)

With the hustle of Okkodo accelerating to put the game in their favor, the Cougars picked off weak passes, pushing the ball up for the easy twos. But back-to-back shots from Borja and Taitano, including another three from Borja, cut into the Cougars’ lead, 62-46.

But time wasn’t on Okkodo’s side; as the clock dwindled into the final seconds, forcing Borja to shoot her last three-pointer of the game, ending it at 64-52.

“Don’t let up and play to our potential,” said Ilao about their goal for tonight’s game.

The Academy Cougars put the game into their hands after multiple plays on offense and suffocating Borja on defense. A three-pointer from Ilao pushed her team passed the Bulldogs in the sixth minute.

With Borja on the run to lay in an uncontested basket, Benavente swooped in from behind to block her shot, putting the Cougars’ fans on their feet in excitement. As the Bulldogs tried to keep up with their opponents, two consecutive two-pointers from Ilao started a small Academy run of 12-2, ending the quarter at 20-8.

Cougars defense in hot pursuit of Bulldogs Felicia Borja. Borja was able to make the easy layup. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars defense in hot pursuit of Bulldogs Felicia Borja. Borja was able to make the easy layup. (photo by Jose Perez)

Starting the second quarter the same way the ended the first, the Cougars pushed their lead further shot after shot. The offense of Academy clicked as the Bulldogs’ defense slowly deteriorated with Borja out.

Going on a scoring frenzy from fast breaks and uncontested shots, the Cougars seemed to have the game in the bag, ending the second quarter with a huge margin lead of 38-16.

“We’re never satisfied,” stated Ilao about their undefeated record. “We’re always going to push to be better, reach out potential, and play as a team.”

Ilao lead her team with 16 points, two rebounds, four steals, and two assists. Teammate “ICE” Bonto contributed with 14 points, four rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Despite the loss, Borja led the Bulldogs with 17 points, five rebounds, three steals, and four assists.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Player of the Game Cougars Gemilie Ilao

Player of the Game Cougars Gemilie Ilao

Bulldogs Felicia Borja makes her three point shot from the corner. (photo by Jose Perez)

Bulldogs Felicia Borja makes her three point shot from the corner. (photo by Jose Perez)

Bulldogs Juls Taitano avoids her defenders and makes a bank shot. (photo by Jose Perez)

Bulldogs Juls Taitano avoids her defenders and makes a bank shot. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Kali Benavente takes an open lane for the easy basket. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Kali Benavente takes an open lane for the easy basket. (photo by Jose Perez)

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Austia Mendiola made it to the California state pairs finals in collegiate beach volleyball before losing to Monterey Peninsula.
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