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GUAM IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

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By Kolby Chang

Guam JP Cruz drives the ball past Bombers Ledget glover for an easy layup. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam JP Cruz drives the ball past Bombers Ledget Glover for an easy layup. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Guam men’s national basketball team earned a spot to play in the championship game of the 2013 Friendship Basketball Tournament by edging the Andersen Bombers 78-74 on Friday night at the Father Duenas Memorial School Phoenix Center. Team Guam will play Korea University on Saturday at 8 pm at the Phoenix Center for the championship.

Guam had a sizeable double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter only to see it dwindle to four points with about two minutes remaining in the game. Thanks to some missed free throws by the Bombers and good time management, Guam escaped with the win. JP Cruz led Guam with 22 points and attributed the win to the team’s perseverance. ‘We just didn’t give up. We just wanted to secure the victory and we stayed focused,’ Cruz said.

The Bombers looked sharp at the beginning of the game as they utilized good ball movement to get their offense going. Jordan Gabby put the Bombers up 13-11 after he sunk in a fast break layup and got the foul. It was more of the same for the Bombers later in the second quarter as Ronnie Jamison scored two points the hard way as he drew a foul in the paint and made both free throws to put his team up 23-17.

Team Guam meanwhile appeared content to work off of isolation plays and that lack of passing did not generate any good looks.  Cruz, however, provided the offensive spark team Guam needed by repeatedly attacking the basket and drawing fouls. ‘We weren’t rotating the ball but as the quarter [went on] we started rotating the ball and that opened a lot of shooters and we were getting some layups also,’ Cruz said.

A nice dime from Cruz to Vince Estella led to an open layup for Estella and capped a 7-2 run for Guam that sliced the Bomber lead to one point. Cruz drew another foul in the paint and after making both free throws Guam was up 26-25. Estella nailed a long jumper late in the quarter to make the score 32-27 going into the half.

Bombers Ollie Bradley looks for an open lane while chased down by Guam defender William Stinnett. (photo by Joey Blas)

Bombers Ollie Bradley looks for an open lane while chased down by Guam defender Willie Stinnett. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam kept the pressure on the Bombers in the third quarter and stretched the lead to 44-35 after Dominic Sablan dropped a slick wraparound pass to a cutting Estella for the layup and the foul. James Collins’s layup at the buzzer put Guam up 52-39 and got the bench on their feet.

Early in the fourth quarter it looked like more of the same as Seve Susuico buried a baseline jumper to make the score 67-48 and Guam was cruising. It was then that the Bombers’ Ledget Glover went off and put on a shooting exhibition. Glover swished a three pointer that ignited a run to get the Bombers back into the game. Barry Endsley then went headfirst toward the hoop for the layup and Glover knocked down another trey for the Bombers to make the score 67-58.

Suddenly Guam had their backs against the wall as Glover continued with his three-point parade and bagged two more triples that got the lead down to 71-66. The Bombers also locked down on defense and clogged the lane so Guam was struggling to make layups. With less than a minute remaining in the game, Glover again stroked a triple to make the score 77-72. Glover was fouled on his next three point attempt and made two out of three free throws before committing a free violation that negated the third free throw. With the score now 77-74, Guam simply rode out the last few seconds on the clock and walked away with the win.

Will Stinnett added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Guam. Ollie Bradley led the Bombers with a game-high 27 points and five assists. Glover finished with 21 points and Michael Evans also had 21 points for Andersen.

Guam will face off against Korea University in the Championship game Saturday night at 8 p.m. following the third place game of the Andersen Bombers and National University (Manila) at 6 p.m. Korea beat National University 72-67.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Guam Dominic Sablan dribbles past Bombers James White. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam Dominic Sablan dribbles past Bombers James White. (photo by Joey Blas)

Bombers Marcus Middlebrooks dribbles past a Guam defender. (photo by Joey Blas)

Bombers Marcus Middlebrooks dribbles past a Guam defender. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam Jin Han looks for an open player inside the paint. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam Jin Han looks for an open player inside the paint. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam Joe Blas sinks the three pointer. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam Joe Blas sinks the three pointer. (photo by Joey Blas)

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