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BULLDOGS TOP ISLANDERS IN OVERTIME THRILLER

The Okkodo Bulldogs defeated the JFK Islanders for the second time this season in the much anticipated rematch between two of the league’s top teams.

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By Kolby Chang

With just the skin on their teeth, the Okkodo Bulldogs scrapped and clawed to a frenetic 75-71 overtime triumph over a valiant JFK Islanders squad in a memorable battle in the IIAAG Boys Basketball League Tuesday night at the Okkodo gym. A much anticipated matchup between two of the league’s top teams certainly lived up to its billing as both teams left it all on the court in a regular season duel that had all the feel of a playoff game.

“The crowd was crazy,” said the Bulldogs’ Jeddou Antonio. “We had a lot of pressure on us. Our coaches just told us to keep our composure.”

Boys Basketball STANDINGSAntonio played a key role in overtime as he calmly buried some critical free throws, grabbed a big time offensive rebound and snatched a big steal with less than 10 seconds left in the game to preserve the win. Antonio led the home team with 18 points and 11 rebounds but as it’s been all season for the Bulldogs, it was a balanced effort as Ben Borja added 15 points and Garren Reyes chipped in 12 points. The Bulldogs now stand at 8-3.

The Islanders fall to 9-2 with both defeats coming at the hands of the Bulldogs. In spite of the losses, the Tumon school still owns the league’s best record. Kurtis Silva poured in a game-high 32 points but fouled out in overtime. Chris Conner and William Belger had eight points apiece for the visitors.

From the opening tip, an anxious and vocal crowd got their money’s worth as Borja’s putback tied the game 2-all and set the tone for a game where neither team wanted to give so much as an inch. Borja was relatively quiet through the first half but he came alive late in the third quarter after he banked in a leaner in the paint, blocked a shot and finished a Bulldog fast break with a layup to put his team back up 43-41.

Bulldogs’ backup guard Vernave Gustilo then got a steal and went to the house for another layup but Silva answered immediately as he drove straight into the Bulldogs’ defense and dropped a no-look dime to a cutting Wayne Jesus for the layup at the buzzer that sliced the lead to 45-43.

JFK's Ricky Pak goes up and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Ricky Pak goes up and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Silva opened the fourth with a nice 4-0 run of his own as he nailed a 10-foot jumper and converted two free throws to put the Islanders up 50-49. A few plays later Reyes’ layup put the Bulldogs up 54-52 but Borja was injured on the sequence and had to leave the game. With the big man no longer roaming the paint, the Islanders pounced on the Bulldogs and stretched the lead to 63-55 after a Belger steal lead to a fast break layup for Gino Perez.

After coming up empty on their next possession, the Bulldogs were forced to foul with only 55 seconds left in the game with score now at 63-58. The Islanders Ziggy Corecuera was unable to convert the free throws and the Bulldogs raced down the court and found Randal Diego open for a three-pointer to make it 63-61.
Corecuera then went 2/2 from the free throw line after being fouled again to put the Islanders up by four points.

Following a Bulldog timeout, Karl Melencio drained a triple that got the home team within one point of the lead. The Bulldogs fouled the Islanders’ Ricky Pak on the next play and he split his free throws. Gustilo then got the ball and shifted into fifth gear and blew past everyone on the court to drill the layup at the buzzer that sent an already wild game into overtime.

In the extra period, Reyes’ strong box out resulted in an offensive rebound and put back to give the Bulldogs the 68-66 lead. With Silva fouling out at the 1:04 mark, Antonio put his stamp on the game by sinking two free throws to make it 72-68. The resilient Islanders stormed back again after Corecuera hit a three but that was last points the visitors were going to score. Antonio ripped away a steal, got hit on the clear path foul and made two more free throws to close out the game.

Other Scores

Guam High 57, Southern 56 – Panthers Austy Hines hits two free throws for the lead with 5.2 seconds left for the win
GW 69, ND 63
Sanchez 40, St. John’s 16
St. Paul 54, Harvest 37 (JV: Harvest 42, St. Paul 26)

PHOTO GALLERY :

JFK's Ricky Pak drives the lane and lays in a difficult shot. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Ricky Pak drives the lane and lays in a difficult shot. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK's Kurtis Silva takes the fast break and takes it all the way to make the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Kurtis Silva takes the fast break and takes it all the way to make the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo's Vernave Gustilo dribbles down the sideline and was able to pass the ball to an open team mate in the middle for the assist. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Vernave Gustilo dribbles down the sideline and was able to pass the ball to an open team mate in the middle for the assist. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo's Randal Diego dribbles past a defender and makes the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Randal Diego dribbles past a defender and makes the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Tip off JFK vs Okkodo. (photo by Joey Blas)

Tip off JFK vs Okkodo. (photo by Joey Blas)

 

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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