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GECKOS WIN TITLE THRILLER

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By Patrick Lujan

The three-time champion Geckos celebrate their title by simply laying down in the middle of the court. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The three-time champion Geckos celebrate their title by simply laying down in the middle of the court. (photo by Jesse Castro)

It’s only fitting that the two largest schools on the island and the two top teams in the league go three sets in the IIAAG Boys Volleyball League championship game.

After all the yelling and screaming from a big crowd Wednesday night at the UOG Field House, it was the GW Geckos winning their third straight title 22-25, 25-16, 25-17 over a gutsy JFK Islanders team.

Senior outside hitter Devin Maluwelmeng brought the power, leading the high-octane Geckos offense with 16 kills and gaining the McDonald’s Player of the Game honors after being snubbed by the Coaches All-Island team (honorable mention).

“He’s the greatest player this year and last year, so this is payback for him,” GW head coach Ed Duenas said about his biggest weapon.

“It was a lot of motivation,” Maluwelmeng said about the All-Island snub, “My coaches told me to go out there and play even harder. I was ready for every ball. They needed kills? I’ll give them some.”

McoDonald's Player of the Game Devin Maluwelmeng 16 kills

McDonald’s Player of the Game Devin Maluwelmeng 16 kills

THIRD SET

Heading into the much-anticipated third and final set, the best offense in the league (GW) forced the best defense in the league (JFK) into five early errors to take a 7-6 lead.

The Islanders had a ray of hope, taking a 12-8 edge when Zhedryk Zacarias worked off a block for a kill.

It was all Geckos after that as the champs went on a 10-2 run, sparked by back-to-back blocks from Allander Ebeo.

“All I was thinking about was protecting my team, do my job and block it,” said the All-Island middle blocker Ebeo.

Down the stretch, Luis Mesngon, Matthew Soto and Maluwelmeng brought down the house with kills before another JFK error ended the night.

‘That was an exciting one,” coach Duenas said. “As a coach, you’re not supposed to have any doubts. The boys stuck to the plan and that was to play hard-core defense.”

GW Coach Ed Duenas raises his finger in the air on championship point. (photo by Jesse Castro)

GW coach Ed Duenas raises his finger in the air on championship point. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Geckos all fell in the middle of the court in unison as their victory celebration.

Set Stats

Aces: JFK 0, GW 0

Service errors: JFK 1, GW 4

Unforced errors: JFK 11, GW 6

Kills: JFK 5 (Za. Zacarias 2, Zh. Zacarias 2, Nunez 1), GW 11 (Maluwelmeng 5, Mesngon 4, Ebeo 1, Soto 1)

Blocks: JFK 2 (Crowe 1, Ilagas 1), GW 2 (Ebeo 2)

Ties: 6

SECOND SET

The Geckos offensive machine was rolling early on, sparked by a couple of Mesngon kills to open the set. Soto, Maluwelmeng and even sophomore All-Island setter Allen Camacho got into the kill party as GW jumped out to a 17-6 lead.

Senior Devin Maluwelmeng was soaring all night long with six of his 16 kills coming in the second set. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Senior Devin Maluwelmeng was soaring all night long with six of his 16 kills coming in the second set. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The momentum shifted slightly for the Islanders as they managed to cut the lead to 21-16 behind some nice net play from Royette Nunez.

But the Geckos would not give way as the kills kept coming. Maluwelmeng’s monster kill and a Soto slam ended the set and sent the match into the decisive set.

Set Stats

Aces: JFK 0, GW 3 (Maluwelmeng 2, Mesngon 1)

Service errors: JFK 2, GW 3

Unforced errors: JFK 3, GW 6

Kills: JFK 7 (Nunez 3, Za. Zacarias 2, Ilagas 1, Zh. Zacarias 1), GW 15 (Maluwelmeng 6, Mesngon 2, Ebeo 2, Soto 2, Camacho 2, Quichocho 1)

Blocks: JFK 0, GW 2 (Soto 1, Maluwelmeng 1)

Ties: 1

FIRST SET

“They’re the smartest team in the league,” Maluwelmeng said about the Islanders. “They use their shortness as an advantage, too. They picked up every ball.”

sdf;kjlasdf (photo by Jesse Castro)

Zakary Zacarias (9) and Luis Mesngon (8) meet at the top of the net. (photo by Jesse Castro)

That was certainly the truth in the first set as the energized Islanders dug up just about everything GW would throw their way.

JFK kept returning and waited for a Gecko error, which came frequently in the opening set. In fact, 14 of JFK’s first 17 points came on GW errors.

Meanwhile, senior twin sensations Zakary and Zhedryk Zacarias systematically ran the JFK offense and pulled out to a 23-20 lead when Zhedryk found an opening in the middle of the Gecko defense playing sides back.

“I guess we were trying to get into our rhythm and trying to establish our game and we fell behind,” Coach Duenas said.

The set ended on a net violation by GW’s Mesngon.

Set Stats

Aces: JFK 1 (Silva), GW 0

Service errors: JFK, 2, GW 5

Unforced errors: JFK 7, GW 11

Kills: JFK 7 (Za. Zacarias 4, Zh. Zacarias 2, Ilagas 1), GW 12 (Maluwelmeng 5, Camacho 2, Ebeo 2, Soto 2, Mesngon 1)

Blocks: JFK 1 (Ilagas 1), GW (Soto 1)

Ties: 3

 

CONSOLATION GAME: FD (3) def. Okkodo (5) 22-25, 25-19, 25-18

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

sdlkjfsjk (photo by Jesse Castro)

Devin Maluwelmeng jump serves in the first set of the championship match. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Four-time First Team All-Island Luis Mesngon delivers the pass on defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Sophomore All-Island setter Allen Camacho decides on which direction to set his teammates. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Devin Maluwelmeng goes through the shorter JFK wall for yet another kill. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Devin Maluwelmeng goes through the shorter JFK wall for yet another kill. (photo by Jesse Castro)

JFK coach Alden Bautista tries to rally his team against the favored Geckos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

JFK coach Alden Bautista tries to rally his team against the favored Geckos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Zakary Zacarias winds up for an outside hit. He led the Islanders with eight kills. (photo by Jesse Castro)

sadf;lkjadsfkj;l (photo by Jesse Castro)

Luis Mesngon (L) and Kurtis Silva (R) fight at the net for possession. (photo by Jesse Castro)

A large crowd was on hand at the UOG Field House to witness the three-set championship game. (photo by Jesse Castro)

A large crowd was on hand at the UOG Field House to witness the three-set championship game. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Allander Ebeo (photo by Jesse Castro)

Allen Camacho delivers a quick set to Allander Ebeo. (photo by Jesse Castro)

GW coaches Joel Quitugua and Ed Duenas congratulate each other on an undefeated championship season. (photo by Jesse Castro)

GW coaches Joel Quitugua and Ed Duenas congratulate each other on an undefeated championship season. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Geckos accept the championship trophy from GDOE Superintendent John Fernandez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Islanders accept the second place trophy from GDOE Superintendent John Fernandez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

McDonald's Player of the Game Maluwelmeng and Coach Duenas pose with the trophy after the game. (photo by Jesse Castro)

McDonald’s Player of the Game Maluwelmeng and Coach Duenas pose with the trophy after the game. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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