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BULLDOGS HAND GECKOS A LOSS

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By Nate San Nicolas

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Another undefeated team has tasted defeat  Tuesday night as the Okkodo Bulldogs ousted the defending champion GW Geckos, on Gecko territory 66-57.

Coming off a loss last Friday to the St. Paul Warriors, the Bulldogs bounced back with an impressive win behind the stellar play of senior guard Aaron Blaz, who scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half.

“This game means a lot to us as a team. Coming off that loss, we knew we beat ourselves, and practices before this game, we all talked that we must all come together to beat GW. And knowing they’re defending champs, we have to play hard, especially on their home court,” said Blaz when asked what the win meant to his team.

Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz scores the easy fast break layup off his own steal. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz scores the easy fast break layup off his own steal. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Blaz started off a bit rough the first minutes of the game, but when he found his rhythm, he could not be stopped. He gave the Bulldogs momentum early on, knocking down his first three three-point attempts and keeping his hot streak going throughout the first half.

“I don’t know what was wrong at first, but once I found my rhythm, I just kept going. It felt good, so if I had that shot or if the defender was a few feet away, I’m going to take it,” replied Blaz on his remarkable first half performance.

However, despite Blaz’ stellar performance, it was the entire GW squad that kept the game close. Six different Gecko players contributed on the scoring end with senior Rashaun Blas making tough shots all over the floor, and Matthew Soto showing his strength as he completed two shots after being fouled hard in the paint. The effort resulted in a dead tie at halftime with a score of 28-28.

Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng gets the clean block on Bulldogs' Jeddou Antonio. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng gets the clean block on Bulldogs’ Jeddou Antonio. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Unfortunately for the Geckos, they went into the second half without go-to player Blas, who came down with a strained left knee in the second quarter and never returned.  He is day-to-day.

But it was the Bulldogs who dominated in the third quarter as Aaron Blaz again put momentum on the Okkodo side, going to the charity stripe three times knocking all six free-throws in the process. Also, teammate Joel Oyardo helped in the run as he recorded four steals on defense and an impressive assist to Joseph Ruppen, who completed a three-point play after being fouled.

From that point on, the Bulldogs never looked backed and finished off the game handing the defending champs their first loss of the season.

“Despite the win, we had setbacks and turnovers that could have killed us. We just need to talk more, we got a little bit over-hyped, and there was a lot of miscommunication. We’re going to work on it in practice and definitely talk more on what we need to do as a team and play as a family. We can’t underestimate anyone, anything can happen on the court, and we just have to play that Okkodo basketball,” Blaz added.

McDonald's player of the game: Bulldogs' Aaron Blaz. 27 points, 8 steals

McDonald’s player of the game: Bulldogs’ Aaron Blaz. 27 points, 8 steals

Blaz led all scorers with 27 points and eight steals followed by teammate Oyardo who contributed 13 points and seven assists to the Bulldog victory.

Five Geckos players scored in double digits in the losing effort, with Soto leading the pack with 12 points and Maluwelmang, Blas, Geo Quichocho, and Jason Frias all scoring ten points each.

In other games:
– JFK defeated the Guam High Panthers 70-67 in overtime fashion. Paolo Hermosilla led all scorers with 26 points, while LJ Aguon contributed 23 points of his own in the loss.

– The FD Friars defeat the Harvest Eagles 64-20. Michael Sakazaki led all scorers with 21 points. FD won the JV match 54-18 behind Jeno Aquino’s 18 points.

– Cedric Sevilla paved the way for St. John’s with 14 points in a big 52-33 win over the Notre Dame Royals. T.J. Atalig added 13 points and Reed Meyer contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. The game got off to a slow start as the Knights led 8-3 after the first quarter.

– St. Paul 62, Southern 42

 

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Bulldogs' Neil Oledan sinks the and-one layup on Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng who commits the foul. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Neil Oledan sinks the and-one layup on Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng who commits the foul. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos' Rashaun Blas scores the runner in the paint over the taller Jeddou Antonio of the Bulldogs. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Rashaun Blas scores the runner in the paint over the taller Jeddou Antonio of the Bulldogs. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng couldn't defend the speed and quickness of Bulldogs' Joel Oyardo who scores the fast break layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng couldn’t defend the speed and quickness of Bulldogs’ Joel Oyardo who scores the fast break layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Garren Reyes contests the layup from Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Garren Reyes contests the layup from Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos' Rashaun Blas sizes up Bulldogs' Joseph Ruppen who looks to defend. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Rashaun Blas sizes up Bulldogs’ Joseph Ruppen who looks to defend. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng attempts the long range shot. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng attempts the long range shot. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs' Joseph Ruppen scores the hard-fought layup through the defense of Geckos' Devin Maluwelmeng. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Joseph Ruppen scores the hard-fought layup through the defense of Geckos’ Devin Maluwelmeng. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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