FRIARS OUTLAST ISLANDERS IN TRIPLE OVERTIME

FRIARS OUTLAST ISLANDERS IN TRIPLE OVERTIME

📅12 March 2014
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By Robert Balajadia

What a basketball game.

The FD Friars and JFK Islanders battled for four quarters and three overtimes that left the underdog Friars going into the championship game beating the JFK Islanders 71-70 at the UOG Field House Wednesday night.

“It was crazy. Amazing. I feel blessed to be a part of a game like that,” said Merrill after the game. “I knew that if we wanted to come out with a win we would have to play as a team and that’s what won us this game teamwork and defense.” Merrill led FD with 15 points.

Friars head coach Eddie Pelkey was getting on the boys early for choice shot selections and lack of defensive pressure, but FD turned it around when it mattered most.

“We won a game in triple overtime didn’t we?” replied Pelkey when asked how he felt his team responded after trailing for majority of the game.

Playing without their top two scorers for the entire overtime stretch Pelkey never deviated from his defensive game plan.

“Our defense never changed at all,” said Pelkey on playing the Islanders without Silva and Belger. “JFK is a very dangerous team without Kurtis and without Billy. We’ve watched a lot of film on them from hear and in the Far East and we knew that all 12-14 players on that bench are all deadly. We didn’t change our game plan one bit. We didn’t even realize they fouled out till later in the game.”

FD was down by as many as 14 points in the game, but all the drama came in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

Down 55-52, Friars Roy Taimanglo picked off a pass and dished it to big man Jeremiah Taitano who was fouled under the basket by Islanders Billy Belger, his fifth of the game forcing him to the bench. Tenorio hit both free throws to cut the lead 55-54.

JFK Islanders Kurtis Silva got fouled on the Islanders next series and hit both free throws to extend the lead 57-54. Silva and Wayne Jesus finished with 16.

“I knew we were down three and I knew we needed a quick basket. I pushed the defense was falling back and I attacked the rim and Kurtis was there and he fouled me, I guess it was luck,” said Merrill on the play.

Then Friars Bruce Merrill took control on the following possession and drove right into Silva, who was under the basket, and picked up the foul while sinking the basket. Merrill hit the free throw tying the game at 57, but more importantly for the Islanders, Silva picked up his fifth and final foul forcing him out of the game as well.

Islanders Ricky Pak tried to hit a pull-up jump shot to win the game but the shot fell short sending the game into its first overtime.

First Overtime

Islanders’ Ricky Pak came in from the corner to put the ball in off the backboard. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Ricky Pak came in from the corner to put the ball in off the backboard. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Playing without their top two scorers, the Islanders turned to guard Aljurrell Grape and Wayne Jesus who were playing in the absence of Silva and Belger.

Friars Tristan Jose got the first bucket of the overtime period but was quickly answered by a bucket from Grape. Jesus gave the Islanders the lead off a runner in the lane but sophomore forward David Sakazaki answered right back to knot the game at 61.

Grape was then fouled with two seconds left with a chance to ice the game but missed both free throws giving FD another chance.

The Friars had to inbound the ball from the opposite end of the court and they turned to quarterback Tyler Okiyama who tried to chuck the ball to a sprinting Friars player, but missed the court entirely throwing it out of bounds giving the Islanders a possession underneath their own basket with two seconds left in the game.

JFK could not draw up a play to get a shot off sending the game into it’s secondovertime tied at 61.

Second Overtime

Friars’ Nicolas Aglubat put two on the board with this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Friars’ Nicolas Aglubat put two on the board with this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Islanders got a quick lift from Grape and big man Gino Perez to go up 66-64, but the Friars got free throws from Merrill to tie the game at 66.

The Friars had the ball with 27 seconds left and turned to Taitano to hit a late bucket, but Taitano missed the rim over the good defense by Perez giving JFK another chance to take the lead with less than five seconds to go.

The Islanders drew up a great play to get guard Ziggy Corcuera open on a fast break and Corcuera passed ahead to a wide open Perez who missed the three pointer at the buzzer to win the game sending it a third overtime.

Third Overtime

Islanders’ Kurtis Silva drove into the lane and through the Friars defense to put two on the board with this layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Kurtis Silva drove into the lane and through the Friars defense to put two on the board with this layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Javier Dimla hit a three pointer to score the first bucket of the final overtime, but Perez finally got a long range shot to fall tying the game at 69. Dimla then tried to get to the basket on two straight offensive possessions though Perez was there to meet him every attempt blocking both shots.

With both teams searching for a bucket, Friars Nick Clark found wiggle room off an offensive rebound and hit a midrange jumper to take the lead 71-69.

Sakazaki fouled out on the following play sending Pak to the line with a chance to tie the game but Pak only converted one of two free throws.

Merrill was then fouled and was presented with a chance to give the Friars a three-point lead with less than 10 seconds in the game. Merrill missed both attempts leaving the game in the hands of the Islanders.

“I tried really hard to focus,” Merrill said as he let out a sigh. “It was one of those mental lapses I can’t have, but it happened. We still came out with the win, though next game hitting free throws will be crucial.”

JFK seemed to struggle working the ball around and settled for a three point shot from Jesus that missed wide right with Merrill corralling the rebound and dishing it ahead to open Friars as the final seconds of the game to pull off the win.

“We needed to buckle down a get defensive stops and create good quality shots on offense. We’ve been trying to do it all year and finally we were able to put together a game like that tonight,” said Pelkey.

The Friars will now play the Okkodo Bulldogs in the Championship game Friday night after the Bulldogs defeated the Guam High Panthers in the semifinals 64-60.

Other Game

Okkodo 64, Guam High 60

PHOTO GALLERY:

Friars’ Tristan Jose taking the shot over two Islanders. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Friars’ Tristan Jose taking the shot over two Islanders. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Gino Perez attempting a layup from the corner. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Gino Perez attempting a layup from the corner. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Friars’ Javier Dimla flew in from the line going in for the layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Friars’ Javier Dimla flew in from the line going in for the layup. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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