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BULLDOGS BEST ISLANDERS IN THRILLER

It took an overtime to decide every game the JFK Islanders and Okkodo Bulldogs played in 2014, and their first meeting in the 2015 IIAAG regular season featured another nail-bitter with Okkodo holding on to grab a close win at the Bulldogs home Friday night.

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By Robert Balajadia

It took an overtime to decide every game the JFK Islanders and Okkodo Bulldogs played in 2014, and their first meeting in the 2015 IIAAG regular season featured another nail-biter with Okkodo holding on to grab an 80-74 win at the Bulldogs home Friday night.

Okkodo’s Karl Melencio scored a game-high 25 points and teammate Liann Torres added in a big 19, including a momentum changing three-pointer in the 4th quarter that sparked a Bulldog run.

Islanders guard Ricky Pak helped JFK tie the game at 62 early in the 4th, going on a personal 4-0 run. Torres then managed to get free behind the left wing on a designed pick play where he swished home the long distance shot to go up 65-62.

“It was a simple pick and roll and I was designed to pop out, and my boy “#TheVern” found me wide open and I nailed it. I believe in my work ethic and believe in my faith. God put me in a position to do well so I give all the credit to him,” said Torres.

Okkodo Bulldogs Vern Gustilo flies in for a layup through the JFK defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Okkodo Bulldogs Vern Gustilo flies in for a layup through the JFK defense. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Okkodo then went on an 12-3 run in the following three minutes to grab a 77-67 lead after Christian Acosta found Melencio under the basket on a fast break dish.

Drama then started to ensue at the 1:29 mark with the Bulldogs up 10. Pak let up a floater to cut the lead to single digits with just under a minute to go, 77-69, followed by a big and-one conversion from teammate Chris Conner on a fast break layup to get within 77-72.

JFK then fouled Acosta with 21.5 ticks left in the contest. The Bulldogs were in the double-bonus which guaranteed them two free throws, but Acosta missed them both to give the Islanders life. JFK’s Aljurell Grape missed on a pull-up jumper in the lane, but teammate Jan Pineda was there for the put-back to get within a single score 77-74.

Okkodo then tried to get the ball in the hands of Vern “#TheVern” Gustilo for the late game free throws, but the denial on the inbounds forced the ball back to Acosta, who was fouled immediately with less than 13 seconds on the clock.

Acosta missed the first free throw which prompted Bulldog head coach Ian Innocencio to call a timeout. Coming out of a timeout, which is most often the most difficult time to make a free throw, Acosta showed resolve by hitting the clutch basket to go up 78-74.

JFK tried to get a quick two under the basket, but Connor’s attempt was blocked by Bulldogs Aiden Ferrara and Nate Lorenzo with Ferrara collecting the rebound where he was fouled and hit both free throws to final the score.

It was tough for Bulldogs lead man Melencio to watch the final seconds unfold, but he had great confidence in his teammates.

JFK Islanders Ricky Pak uses the right hand for a tough layup. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

JFK Islanders Ricky Pak uses the right hand for a tough layup. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

“My teammates can do it, I don’t have to worry about it. It feels good to win this way, we kept our composure and the hole team stepped up,” said Melencio on the final seconds.

Islanders Billy Belger took over in the second quarter hitting four straight three pointers to shave off a large Bulldogs first half lead at 35-34. Torres went on a personal 6-0 run in the period to go up 29-19 before Belger got hot.

Belger finished with a team high 22 points, but was held scoreless in the 4th quarter after Melencio was given the defensive assignment to guard him. As soon as Belger crossed half court, Melencio was shadowing him to prevent a further outbreak in scoring.

“We played full court man-to-man defense in the first half and worked out all our little mistakes in the second half during the half court setting. This is a big win for us up in the Northside, it’s all about competition here in the North,” commented Melencio.

The Islanders also got a big lift from Wayne Jesus, who scored the first nine points for JFK in the game. Jesus finished with 18 and Pak finished with 12 to round out the Islanders top scorers.

Other Scores

Southern 71, FD 67 – SHS: Dominic Diego 24 pts, Diallo Cruz 18 pts, FD: RJ Rokop 15 pts

GW 83, ND 46 – GW: Matthew Soto 20 pts, Kyle Gaitan 13 pts

Sanchez 50, St. Paul 47 – SSHS: Ralph Devera 13 pts, SP: John San Andres 18 pts

St. John’s 61, Harvest 59 – Knights lost to the Eagles by 29 points in the GSPN Pre-Season Tournament

boys basketball standings

PHOTO GALLERY :

Okkodo Bulldogs Aiden Ferrara gets up on a block against the JFL Islanders. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Okkodo Bulldogs Aiden Ferrara and ‘Mugsy’ Blaz get up on a block against the JFK Islanders. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Bulldogs Austin Blaz dribbles down court during a fast break. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Bulldogs Austin Blaz dribbles down court during a fast break. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Bulldogs Nate Lorenzo is met defensively by JFK Islanders Ricky Pak. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Bulldogs Nate Lorenzo is met defensively by JFK Islanders Ricky Pak. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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