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BULLDOGS GET EVEN WITH GECKOS

In a game that was physical from opening whistle to the final buzzer, it was the Okkodo Bulldogs who were able to pull off the hard fought win over the GW Geckos at the Geckos’ home court Friday night.

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By John Baza

In a game that was physical from opening whistle to the final buzzer, it was the Okkodo Bulldogs who were able to pull off the hard fought 59-54 win over the GW Geckos at the Geckos’ home court Friday night. Coming off a tough loss to the St.Paul Warriors on Tuesday night, the Bulldogs were able to use the loss as a drive for them as they closed out the final quarter in clutch fashion.

The last time the two teams met were on the live broadcast of the GSPN pre-season tournament. The Geckos ended up blowing out the Bulldogs by halftime and the large lead stayed throughout. Friday night’s contest was much different.

When asked what experience was gained from the loss, Okkodo’s Vern “#TheVern” Gustilo replied, “Defense and better chemistry. We basically created a bond within the team.” He credited his team’s victory tonight to these improved aspects.

The Bulldogs’ Karl Melencio went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 15 seconds to clinch the road win for the visiting Okkodo team.

“I just blocked out everything that was going on around me and focused on those free-throws. After that, I felt confident enough and I made it”, said Melencio.

Okkodo's Karl Melencio goes up and makes contact on the play and was able to sink the basket and the foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Karl Melencio goes up and makes contact on the play and was able to sink the basket and the foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

Holding a narrow 41-38 lead entering the fourth quarter, the Okkodo Bulldogs powered their way to the lead behind the dominant inside game of Aiden Ferrara and Melencio, who hit clutch buckets in the paint to go up (54-45). However, the Geckos’ Josh McCarrel made his presence known getting strong buckets at the rim, including 4 straight points and a steal with 1:30 left that brought them within 5 (54-49).

After the Bulldogs’ Gustillo hit a layup to put his team up 56-51, things got heated in the final minute as a small scuffle broke out between the players after a loose ball situation. With tensions cooling down, GW’s Ethan Alegre kept the heat going as he hit a clutch 3-pointer at the wing to bring his team within two (56-54) with 35 seconds left.

The home team had a chance to tie up the game towards the end, but a miscommunication on the inbounds forced a crucial turnover that forced them to foul Melencio, who would go on to hit the game winning free throws.

Physicality was apparent from the get go, as both teams traded hard fouls, as well as highlight blocks courtesy of the Geckos’ Renz Brozo and Devin San Augustin. Both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, but it was Okkodo’s Nate Lorenzo who kept the visiting team ahead, scoring 9 first half points as his team held a 24-21 lead.

GW's Jacob Frias dribbles past three defenders and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Jacob Frias dribbles past three defenders and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Second half action came quick as the Bulldogs’ Alex Diego netted the first 5 points for his team in an effort to help them pull away. The fast break points from Okkodo’s Melencio, Nate Lorenzo, and Torres overshadowed GW’s balanced attack at the rim, courtesy of baskets from McCarrel, Briozo, and Matt Soto.

The Bulldogs forced turnovers that brought opportunities to break away from the scrappy Geckos, but the game was still up for grabs as GW courageously defended their home court until the very last minute.

Melencio lead the charge for the Bulldogs with 19 points, followed by Lorenzo with 12 and Aiden Ferrara with 11. In a balanced attack, McCarrel led the way for the Geckos netting in 14 points and Matt Soto contributing 10.

The Bulldogs are now 4-3 while the Geckos fall to 4-2.

Other Scores

JFK 75, Guam High 56
St. Paul 55, Southern 47
FD 76, Harvest 42
Sanchez 54, ND 36

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Okkodo's Vern Gustillo finds an opening in the lane and goes up to make the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Vern Gustilo finds an opening in the lane and goes up to make the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Renz Brozo goes up and makes a nice block and was able to get the rebound. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Renz Brozo goes up and makes a nice block and was able to get the rebound. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo's Aiden Ferrera dribbles hard down the baseline past a defender and makes the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Aiden Ferrera dribbles hard down the baseline past a defender and makes the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Devin San Agustin pulls up and makes the jumper for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Devin San Agustin pulls up and makes the jumper for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Lester Gaitan receives the inbound pass and dribbles the ball down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Lester Gaitan receives the inbound pass and dribbles the ball down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

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