By Robert Balajadia
Southern 76, ND 38
Dolphins’ All-Island honorable mention guard April “Speedy” Talledo exploded for 29 points to give Southern the definitive edge over the Royals and Destiny “Queen-B” Castro.
Talledo was only given a spot on the honorable mention list after helping her Dolphins attain a league best 11-1 record. Though, Talledo admitted she was not playing with a chip on her shoulder, nor was she trying to make a statement, she just wanted to get the win.
“It’s okay if I didn’t make the first or second team. What matters is that we get to the championship and play as a team and play out best. Either win or lose, we are a proud team to be going to the championship this year,” said Talledo.
Castro still had a great game with 27 points but she could not will her team to a victory like she is often capable of doing.
Dolphins’ All-Island first team forward senior Brielle Meno played a big part in the win the 25 points. Meno did most of her damage in the first and fourth quarter, where basketball games are often won. Like Talledo, Meno just wants to win since it is her last year, but also prove that her All-Island first team selection was well deserved.
“We just wanted to get this one for our seniors and [junior] April, because she is part of us. I wanted to prove I was first-team material and I take any sport I’m playing serious. Today I just did my part,” assured Meno.
The Dolphins grabbed a double-digit lead after the first quarter and never let the Royals back in the game.
While facing a 25-7 hole in the second quarter the Royals got a spark from Castro who scored seven straight points to cut the lead 25-14, but Talledo went on an 11-0 run by herself to give the Dolphins a 41-19 halftime lead.
Both Castro and Talledo had 17 points at the half with Castro scoring all but two of her teams points.
Meno scored more than half of her 25 points in the second half as she helped put away the Royals.
The Dolphins will face the Cougars in the championship game which will conclude a split season series between the teams. The Cougars got an overtime win against the Dolphins in their first meeting and the Dolphins responded with a blowout win in their second meeting.
Academy 81, GW 46
The Academy Cougars are back in the finals after getting a lopsided victory over the GW Geckos. The Geckos got a big win over the Okkodo Bulldogs to set up the semifinal showdown, but the Cougar stars in Kali Benavente, Alina “ICE” Bonto, and Gemilie Ilao hit double-digits to pace the Cougars all game.
Benavente almost had a triple double scoring a team high 20 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. League MVP Bonto had 15 points and 9 rebounds on a bad ankle and Ilao netted 11 points and five steals.
Dyonii Quitigua led the Geckos in scoring with 20 points.
Cougars Jasie Villenueva got off to a quick start scoring 6 points in the first quarter that had Academy leading 19-8. The Cougars jumped out to a 42-23 halftime lead which only continued to grow through out the game. A 17-point third quarter led by Benavente gave the Cougars a 65-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Geckos fought valiantly, but the Cougar stars dominated from start to finish. Rebounding was a major issue for the Geckos as the Cougar bigs and forwards repeatedly crashed the offensive boards.
The win sets up a championship showdown between the Cougars and Dolphins. The regular season match up between the teams were split 1-1 with the Dolphins getting a big blowout win against the Cougars towards the end of the season.
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