GSPN’S HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL STARS

GSPN’S HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL STARS

📅07 March 2014
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By GSPN Staff

The 2014 boys high school basketball regular season has ended as players gear up for a run at a basketball title. The season presented great battles between the best teams in the league with the great play of some of the league’s stars that made it even more exciting.

GSPN has handpicked some of the best players in the league and chose to highlight them for their stellar and exciting play all season. The basketball beat writers Kolby Chang and Niko Bulaon, along with Sports Director Robert Balajadia, highlight the top five players in the league in the “GSPN Starting Five.”

GSPN STARTING FIVE

GUARDS

Robert: Kurtis Silva (JFK) – Silva is arguably the best player in the league and has been the driving force behind the Islanders’ success this season. Silva is a volume shooter and takes and makes big shots. His ability to finish despite getting hacked and willingness to get his teammates involved at every opportunity make him a special player. It doesn’t stop there, he is the leader of the defense and never takes a play off.

Niko: Jason Aquino (SP) – Senior Jason Aquino knows how to get the St. Paul Warriors out of the toughest of situations. Aquino’s ability to score points every game, pick up steals and land assists make him the Warriors’ leading man this season. Aquino’s hustle and quick thinking helps him run the court smoothly and hit even the most difficult of shots and over the hands of any opponent.

FORWARDS/CENTER

Kolby: Garren Reyes (OKD) – Reyes is fundamentally sound and always hustles. He always boxes his man out, runs hard on every play, sets strong screens and plays defense with his body instead of his hands. He’s like a Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace-type player but with much better offensive skills. He doesn’t score a lot but he does all the little things that aren’t recorded in the stat book but are crucial in winning tight games.

KolbyJeddou Antonio (OKD) – Antonio is an ideal wing player. He has the length, athleticism and is willing to take big shots late in the game. He handles the ball very well for someone his size and is just as quick as some guards. He can do just about it all on the offensive end because of his size but it’s his all-around skills that make him standout.

Niko: John San Andres (SP) – St. Paul Warriors’ big man, John San Andres, knows how to play his position, making him a dangerous player in the league. The go-to man for the easy buckets, San Andres’ towering height also helps him grab the rebounds, picking up ten or more rebounds per game. Aside from his double-digits of points and rebounds, San Andres can pick up at least two blocks a game. San Andres’ height and skill on the court make him the ultimate weapon of defense.

Considerable: Billy Belger (JFK), Austy Hines (GH), LJ Aguon (GH), Ben Borja (OKD), Lewis Harris (GH), Bruce Merrill (FD), Jose Candaso (SHS),

STAR TALENT

Names on a list are one way to see who are the stars of the league, but our beat writers took a closer look at what exactly makes some of these players special in six different categories that highlight the standouts and their respective play style.

Mr. Basketball (MVP)

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GSPN’s “Mr. Basketball” Kurtis Silva.

Robert: Kurtis Silva (JFK) – Silva is that type of player that you can’t ignore on the court. He scores almost at will, guards the opposing team’s best player and does it all while in the flow of the teams offense. Silva can pass the ball as good as anyone in the league and is very dangerous on the fast break, which is the Islanders strong suit. When the game is on the line, putting your money on Silva is a safe bet.

Kolby: Kurtis Silva (JFK) – Silva puts the Islanders on his back every time they take the floor. He is without a doubt their leader. He can drive, he can dribble, he can shoot and has no reservations about being the go-to-guy for his team. He can single-handedly keep the Islanders in any game because of his ability to score.

NikoKurtis Silva (JFK) – Senior Kurtis Silva has grown up since his freshman days, leading the top-seeded JFK Islanders through the 2014 season and ending with an impressive record of 13-2. Silva pushes his team forward and he pulls through for his team when stuck in the toughest situations. He not only picks up 20-30 points each game, Silva’s quick thinking and fast-paced movements help him grab steals and rebounds. Silva’s leadership and determination on and off the court reflects off his teammates, making the Islanders a tough team to play against.

Instant Offense

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“Instant Offense” selectee Okkodo Bulldogs guard Vern Gustilo

Robert:  Billy Belger (JFK) – The Islanders have a prototypical swing man in Belger. He is a sophomore, but you couldn’t tell on the court by the way he plays. He can light it up almost instantly and is adept at creating his own shot. His length allows him to shoot over shorter defenders and his marksman-like ability gives a smooth finish to every jumper. Belger is not afraid of contact and can score at any angle from anywhere on the court.

Kolby: Jason Aquino (St. Paul)  – Aquino can put up points in a hurry. He knows the best way to ignite an offense is to attack the hoop. He’s good off the dribble or on the receiving end of a pass. Either way he’s going to the rack and he’ll get his points that way or at the foul line. He can also shoot too and for that reason the Warriors are never completely out of a game.

Niko: Vern Gustilo (Okkodo) – The Okkodo Bulldogs are packed with future potential including sophomore guard Vernave Gustilo. Gustilo’s confidence and unbelievable speed makes him one of the Bulldogs’ top scorers. When needed, Gustilo doesn’t fail to ignite his team’s offense and is able to score even against tight defense. His quick decision-making and fast-paced movements make Gustilo a hard player to defend.

Considerable: John Buan (SSHS), Brian Tsujii (SP), LJ Aguon (GH), Jose Condaso (SHS), Nic Aglubat (FD), Dominic Diego (SHS), Aljurrell Grape (JFK), Ryan Teologo (SHS), Michael Stewart (GH), Diaolo Cruz (SHS), Josh McCarrel (GW)

Defensive Anchor

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“Defensive Anchor” selectee Okkodo Bulldogs center “Big” Ben Borja

Robert: Ben Borja (OKD) – Borja is a defensive presence like not many in the league. He sends shots back at ease, an eraser if you will. Borja had eight blocks against the Panthers in their first meeting and his defense allows his teammates to settle in. Not many things can get past Borja and its safe to say that when guards drive the lane and see him, no one tries to get past him.

KolbyBen Borja (OKD) – Big Ben owns the paint. His presence alone makes players think twice about driving to the hoop. Even if he doesn’t block their shot, he alters their drive by forcing them to pass or take a difficult shot. He also cleans up the defensive boards leaving no chance of an offensive rebound for the opposing team.

NikoBen Borja (OKD) – Ben Borja’s height already intimidates his opponents, but it’s his defensive ability that puts him in the spot light. The Okkodo sophomore defends the home key effectively, effortlessly grabbing rebounds and halting any attempts of an easy layup from the other team.

Considerable: John San Andres (SP), Lewis Harris (GH), LJ Aguon (GH), Kurtis Silva (JFK), Bruce Merrill (FD), Austy Hines (GH),  Ricky Pak (JFK), Jeremiah Taitano (FD)

 

Floor General

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“Floor General” selectee FD Friars point guard Bruce Merrill

Robert: Bruce Merrill (FD) – As rare as vocal leaders come, Merrill doesn’t back away from his responsibility to run the offense and defense. His experience allows him to understand the game more and his length makes him difficult to guard. Not always looking to score, Merrill tries to get his teammates involved as much as possible and then calls the shots on the defensive end every series.

KolbyBruce Merrill (FD) – Merrill seems just as comfortable on the hardwood as he does on the gridiron which is why he can be seen barking out plays and telling players what to do. He knows how to take charge of the situation and can also make the best of a broken play because of his aggressive mindset.

NikoAusty Hines (GH) – Austy Hines of the Guam High Panthers proved this season that he isn’t someone to take lightly. The Panthers started the season strong behind Hines and teammate L.J. Aguon, keeping them as the first-seeded team in the Gadao Division. Although Hines doesn’t appear as much at a glance, his ability on the court to lead his team in the rough situations in the game is the reason he stands out. Even in the tightest of situations, making and finishing plays is what Hines does best, keeping the fire of the Panthers alive.

Considerable: Dominic Diego (SHS), Aljurell Grape (JFK), Jason Aquino (SP), LJ Aguon (GH), Jose Candaso, Kurtis Silva (JFK), Ricky Pak (JFK), Vern Gustillo (OKD),

Stat Vacuum

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“Stat Vacuum” selectee Guam High Panthers guard Austy Hines.

Robert: Austy Hines (GH) – Hines nearly collected a triple double multiple times this season. Although he does not have much of perimeter game, Hines makes up for it everywhere else. He is a tall point guard who crashes the boards as much as the bigs do and is long enough to pick off the passing lanes for steals. Hines doesn’t have the flashiest game, but in a lot of ways the most efficient.

Kolby: Jeddou Antonio (OKD) – Antonio’s combination of size and skill make him a threat at both ends of the court. He’s a great offensive player who is always looking to attack. He has great ball-handling who can dish out dimes. He also is a good athlete so he can jump over people for rebounds all night.

NikoJohn San Andres (SP) – John San Andres’ height and talent make him a very effective player on offense and defense. San Andres’ ability to score, rebound, steal and block make him a threat when he steps on the court. Although he still has room for improvement, San Andres’ current abilities is what establishes him as one of the St. Paul Warriors’ star players.

Considerable: Garren Reyes (OKD), Jose Condaso (SHS), Ricky Pak (JFK), Bruce Merill (FD), Jed Antonio (OKD), Giovanni Perez (JFK), Jeremiah Taitano (FD)

 

 

Long Ranger

Islanders’ William Belger attempted a shot for two with this long jumper over Warriors’ Kris Conlu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“Long Ranger” selectee Islanders’ swingman William “Billy” Belger.

Robert: Billy Belger (JFK) – A flat-out scorer and as pure a shooter as they come. Belger possesses the “in the gym” type range, meaning he can hit shots from anywhere in the gym. Belger plays his role in the offense and is a perfect compliment to Silva. Often times Belger leaks out to the wing to get a clean looking jumper, and when he does, he’s got the most accurate deep ball in the league. He is more than just a long-range shooter, but there’s no over looking how good of a shooter he is.

KolbyLJ Aguon (GHS) – Aguon can shoot the lights out. He has the range to stretch any defense and add up points by the bunch. A pure shooter with textbook form.

NikoBilly Belger (JFK) – Belger is possibly the only player in the league who could score consecutive threes like he was born to do it. Only a sophomore, Belger’s ability to shoot behind the arc lifts the Islanders above their opponents. Uncontested or over the hands of even the toughest defenders, the three-point line is Belger’s hot spot and he will always find a way to get the ball in the basket.

Considerable: Noel Bien Carlos (FD), Michael Stewart (GH), Jordan Javellana (HCA)

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