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WARRIORS WIN UNBEATEN BATTLE

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By John Odtohan

Even a mask can’t hide how good the St. Paul Warriors have been early in the boys high school basketball season.  In the battle of the last two Taga Division unbeaten teams Friday night, the visiting Warriors had a big game from big man John San Andres in beating the Okkodo Bulldogs 56-50.IIAAG logo 1-13

San Andres was playing with a face mask in the first half of the game due to a broken nose suffered from the last game, but ended up taking it off in the second half. When asked how he felt about taking off his mask, San Andres stated,” I wasn’t really thinking about it.” It didn’t seem to bother him at all as he had a huge game tallying 13 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Warriors were on point with their defense in the first half as they took a 28-18 halftime lead. However, the Bulldogs showed their resilience in the second half as they were able to fight their way back into the game with an offensive onslaught led by Joseph Ruppen. Ruppen scored eight straight points for the Bulldogs, creating a 12-2 run to cut the score to 38-33.

Warriors' John San Andres scores the mid-range jumper in the fourthe quarter. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors’ John San Andres scores the mid-range jumper in the fourth quarter. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

A crucial turning point for the Bulldogs started when St. Paul leading scorer Sheik Cariño went down with an injury halfway through the third quarter and never returned to the game.

“Coach encouraged us to step up our game and that’s what we did”, stated fellow Warriors guard Jason Aquino. Once the Warriors knew Cariño was not coming back, Aquino stepped it up . Coming off a referee timeout , Aquino took it strong to the basket and made the lay up with an “and one”. The very next possession for the Bulldogs , Aquino converted a steal into another easy layup for a quick spurt and a comfortable 44-37 lead to end the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was intense as fans from both sides were heavily involved. It came down to “clutch time” as Okkodo displayed their Bulldog heart cutting the lead to two after Aaron Blaz made an amazing, Jordan-like reverse lay-up off a steal. St. Paul guard Tito Canovas came right back with a drive right down the middle to extend their lead to 54-50 with 48.6 seconds left. The Warriors defense was crucial in the final seconds as it forced a turnover with 20 seconds left. Aquino then sealed the game hitting two free throws.

“Okkodo is a good team, they are going to be there in the end. We are just happy to get the win. We have great respect for them”, stated Warriors coach Paul Pineda after the game.

McDonald's player of the game: Warriors' John San Andres. 20 rebounds, 13 points, 5 blocks

McDonald’s player of the game: Warriors’ John San Andres. 20 rebounds, 13 points, 5 blocks

The Bulldogs had a great fighting effort. “We don’t give up, we take it one step at a time. It comes down to the stops and our offense will take care of ourselves,” stated Bulldogs’ head coach Ed Mañalac. He also stated,” We will make adjustments. It is all about getting better everyday and every game. I know we are going to get better with this experience.”

Aquino had a game-high with 17 points for St. Paul. Ruppen had 14 points, seven rebounds and four steal for the Bulldogs while Keeno Madrazo and Joel Oyardo chipped in nine points each.

In the Junior Varsity game the Bulldogs blew out the Warriors 66-29. Aiden Ferrara led the Bulldogs with 18 points followed by Ben Borja scoring nine. Warriors’ Josh Ontario scored eight points.

 

OTHER GAMES

FD 54, Guam High 46: Michael Sakazaki led a balanced attack with 14 points while teammates Jeremiah Taitano and Bruce Merrill added 11 each. Marcus Domingo led the Panthers with 16 points and L.J. Aguon chipped in 12. The Friars squeaked out a win in the JV game 45-44.

Southern 72, Notre Dame 52: The aggressive Dolphins picked up their first win of the season in a battle of winless teams in the Gadao Division.

St. John’s 60, Harvest 45: The Knights got back on track with a win at Harvest. The Knights also beat the Eagles in the JV contest 33-28.

Sanchez 46, JFK 40: The Sharks pulled into third place of  the Taga Division with a big win over their old-nemesis Islanders.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

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Bulldogs' Jeddou Antonio gets past the opposing Warriors defense during a fast break to attempt the wide open layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Jeddou Antonio gets past the opposing Warriors defense during a fast break to attempt the wide open layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors' Jason Aquino scores the layup off a fast break. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors’ Jason Aquino scores the layup off a fast break. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors' Tito Canovas keeps his body between the ball and defense of Bulldogs' Joel Oyardo as he looks for an open man. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors’ Tito Canovas keeps his body between the ball and the defense of Bulldogs’ Joel Oyardo as he looks for an open man. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Joel Oyardo scores the floater over the much taller John San Andres of the Warriors. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Joel Oyardo scores the floater over the much taller John San Andres of the Warriors. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors' Brian Tsujii tries to sink the baseline layup through the defense of Bulldogs' Garren Reyes and Joe Ruppen. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Warriors’ Brian Tsujii tries to sink the baseline layup through the defense of Bulldogs’ Garren Reyes and Joe Ruppen. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Randall Diego scores the reverse layup during a fast break off a Warriors turnover. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Randall Diego scores the reverse layup during a fast break off a Warriors turnover. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

 

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