📅17 December 2014
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By Robert Balajadia

The top two seeds in the league will once again meet, as #1 and #2 met in the 2013 finals, in the girls basketball 2014 finals featuring the Okkodo Bulldogs and Southern Dolphins. Okkodo had avenged their only season loss against the Academy Cougars in the semifinals while Southern overcame a bad first half to beat the JFK Islanders.

The championship is scheduled to be played at a neutral site (TBD) Friday at 7 pm, right after the 3rd place game between the Cougars and Islanders.

The Okkodo Bulldogs

2014 will mark a huge milestone for the Lady Bulldogs in it being their first time participating in a basketball finals. (11-1) was already their best record ever, but their finals appearance this year has to be the biggest accomplishment for the program.

Okkodo’s strength all season long has been reliant on leading Lady Felicia “Fearless” Borja’s ability to run the offense. Borja had been accustomed to shouldering the scoring load for the team in previous years, but the Bulldogs chemistry all season, and trusting in head coach Arleen Mad, has allowed their fearless leader to hone the facilitator role.

Okkodo's Ke'ann Castro goes up and makes the difficult basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Ke’ann Castro will play as big a role as any against the Dolphins. (photo by Joey Blas)

Borja wasn’t the only All Island selectee to represent the league’s top team with fellow Bulldog Ke’ann Castro securing a spot on the All Island 2nd team. Castro proved her teams worth Tuesday against the Cougars, playing hardy defense and while taking all the offensive attention away from Borja with her 18-point performance.

Though it’s their first ever title game for the girls, the 2010 boys team were also finals first timers when they defeated the Sanchez Sharks becoming the school’s first ever championship. Since then, the Bulldogs have become a house hold name in the likes of basketball winning another title in 2012.

The Lady Bulldogs, however, will out to make their own history, and beating the defending champion Southern Dolphins will make as sweet a first time championship as any.

The Southern Dolphins

The Bulldogs got their revenge Tuesday beating Academy and it’s the Dolphins now who are out to repay their lone loss of the season in championship fashion.

Southern had elected to sit out star guard April “Speedy” Talledo for the entire 1st quarter in their regular season meeting which allowed the Bulldogs to get crazy hot from downtown, dropping the Dolphins 29-0 in the quarter before they could even blink.

Talledo is not likely to miss a minute of the championship game.

The Dolphins and Cougars put forth a thrilling overtime title game in 2013 so the Dolphins know just how difficult winning a title is going to be. They are well aware of the Bulldogs strong roster, but having won it before will give them tacit knowledge over Okkodo should the game be close. And if their play all season indicates anything, this game will most definitely be close.

Mar Tenorio of the Dolphins attempts to pull in a rebound after a missed shot.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

A healthy dose of Mar Tenorio will do the Dolphins some good against the Bulldogs. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Talledo has been a winner her entire sports tenure and she highly considers basketball her best sport. She had improved her overall league recognition after being maligned with an honorable mention in 2013 to a more prominent All Island 1st team selection in 2014.

Southern fans still rose up on social media, making #TeamSpedy a thing, on Talledo not winning the league MVP. Still, they chant MVP nearly every time Talledo is at the free throw line, and you can expect them to do so often in the finals.

As far a personal rewards, Talledo often expressed a lack of interest in being recognized. To her, winning a title and sharing it with her team outweighs any other trophy she could have which garners a lot of the praise she receives from the Dolphins and basketball community.

She won’t be going at it alone with a handful of championship returnees, like center Marlisah Tenorio, who will only help the Dolphins against the dangerous Bulldogs.

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