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COUGARS KNOCK OUT WARRIORS

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By Robert Balajadia

Warriors’ Joy Pangilinan flies in for a layup with Cougars’ Erin Wong defending the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Joy Pangilinan flies in for a layup with Cougars’ Erin Wong defending the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Academy Cougars took care of business against the St. Paul Warriors by beating them 61-41 at the Cougar gym in the first round of the quarterfinals Tuesday night.

Cougars’ All-Island MVP Alina “ICE” Bonto took a quick exit into the game after scoring six of the Cougars nine early points. Bonto rolled an ankle while putting up a baseline floater while colliding with two Warrior players.

In her absence, All-Island first team guard Kali Benavente and All-Island second team guard Gemilie Ilao took over and held off what appeared to be a furious Warrior rally in the second half. Benavente finished with 16 points to lead the Cougars while Ilao finished with 14.

“Our coach always says that we are interchangeable pieces and we just needed to step it up and play our game,” said Ilao on what the huddle was like after Bonto went down.

The Cougars held a 37-21 lead early in the third quarter when Warriors’ Joy “Nova” Pangilinan sparked a big 14-3 run to cut the Cougar lead to 40-33. Pangilinan would trim the lead even further with free throws early in the fourth quarter to pull the Warriors within six points, 43-37.

Benavente quickly put an end to a comeback by sinking a big three point after Pangilinan’s free throws to go up 46-37. Benavente would sink another dagger three pointer to extend the lead 51-39 a few possessions later.

Ilao aided scoring back-to-back buckets to further the Cougar lead as they closed the game out on a 15-4 run.

Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao defeats four defenders to put two points in with this layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao defeats four defenders to put two points in with this layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“We just needed to control their primary players and help each other out when we needed it,” said Ilao on the team defense.

Defense was key as Cougar center Erin Wong created havoc in the middle by blocking shots and forcing the Warriors into tough shots around the basket. Pangilinan scored 22 points in the loss and was guarded by Benavente for majority of the game.

“We know how [Joy] plays because we’ve played with her before,” said Benavente.

Kindra Young also added 13 points for the Warriors.

Bonto reentered the game nearing the end of the second quarter and finished with 10 points. She assured that she will be ready for Thursday’s semifinal showdown.

The Cougars set up a semifinals showdown with the GW Geckos who got the big win over the higher seeded Okkodo Bulldogs. The Dolphins will play the Royals in the other semifinal matchup after Southern defeated the Harvest Eagles while ND’s Destiny Castro dropped 36 points on the JFK Islanders.

Other Scores

ND 55, JFK 51

GW 60, Okkodo 70

Souterhn 54, Harvest 54

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Cougars’ Erin Wong wins the tipoff to gain control of the ball for her team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Erin Wong wins the tipoff to gain control of the ball for her team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Alina Bonto grabs the rebound and keeps the ball away from Warriors Rheana Molinos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Alina Bonto grabs the rebound and keeps the ball away from Warriors Rheana Molinos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Cara Young  and Cougars’ Alina Bonto chased down a loose ball with Young  gaining control and taking the ball to the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Cara Young and Cougars’ Alina Bonto chased down a loose ball with Young gaining control and taking the ball to the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao puts the ball up for a three point shot over Warriors’ Joy Pangilinan. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao puts the ball up for a three point shot over Warriors’ Joy Pangilinan. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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