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BULLDOGS RALLY TO BEAT PANTHERS IN SEMIS

The defending champion Okkodo Bulldogs survived an early scare and rallied to take out the Guam High Panthers on Wednesday night in the playoffs of the IIAAG Boys’ Basketball League at the UOG Fieldhouse.

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By Kolby Chang

The defending champion Okkodo Bulldogs survived an early scare and rallied to take out the Guam High Panthers 64-60 on Wednesday night in the playoffs of the IIAAG Boys’ Basketball League at the UOG Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs will now square off with the Father Duenas Friars on Friday at 7 p.m. at UOG to decide who is going to be crowned the king of high school hoops. Okkodo has won the title in 2010 and 2013.

“It feels awesome,” said sophomore sensation Ben Borja when asked what it meant to be in the title game again.

The big man played a key role in a critical 13-6 third quarter run by scoring five points, pulling down two rebounds and blocking one shot. Down 40-33 in the third quarter, Christian Acosta got the throng of Bulldog faithful on their feet after he received an outlet pass off of a missed Panther field goal attempt and hit the layup plus the foul to make it 42-39.

Borja then put his stamp on the game after he hauled down an offensive board and got hammered on the put back. The 6’5” center split his free throws to bring his team within two points of the lead. Borja later had another put back to tie the game at 46 going into the fourth quarter

After starting the game on fire from the perimeter, the Panthers cooled off and now all of a sudden the Bulldogs were back in the fight. The Panthers, however, did not roll over and knotted the game at 50 after Lewis Harris got a put back of his own. Harris then intercepted a pass near half-court and raced in for the layup that put the Panthers back in the lead 52-50.

Acosta answered by slashing his way to the rack for a layup and Karl Melencio followed that up with another layup after spinning free from his defender to make it 54-52. With three minutes left in the game, both teams appeared to be on edge as they exchanged unforced turnovers that drew some loud groans from the crowd.

Borja then gave the Bulldogs something to cheer about after he swatted away another Panther field goal attempt and buried a pretty jumper on the other end of the court that made the score 58-55. Following another sequence of some sloppy offense, Jeddou Antonio hauled down an offensive board and the Bulldogs called for time at the 2:03 mark.

Bulldogs’ C. Acosta from the corner attempting a layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ C. Acosta from the corner attempting a layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Panthers were the first to score following the timeout when Jujuan King hit a nice jumper in the paint that got his team within one point of the lead. The Bulldogs came up empty on their next possession but caught a break when the Panthers committed another turnover and Acosta hit Melencio on the drive and dish for the layup.

Melencio’s putback with less than 45 seconds to go made the score 62-57 and forced the Panthers to call a timeout. The Panthers had their shot but Borja blocked his eighth shot of the game that lead to fastbreak layup for Melencio and sealed the game.

The Bulldogs were lead by Melencio’s 19 points. Randal Diego chipped in 12 points and Garren Reyes added nine points. Borja finished the game with seven points.

Michael Stewart scored 12 points for the Panthers, while LJ Aguon and Eddie Garza scored 11 points apiece.

Other Game

FD 71, JFK 70 – Triple Overtime

PHOTO GALLERY:

Bulldogs’ Ben Borja dropped two into the hoop with this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bulldogs’ Ben Borja dropped two into the hoop with this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Juan King drove the ball down the baseline before putting two into the bucket. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Juan King drove the ball down the baseline before putting two into the bucket. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Michael Stewart in the lane went up to put two into the basket. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Michael Stewart in the lane went up to put two into the basket. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ LJ Aguon dropped in three from the top. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ LJ Aguon dropped in three from the top. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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