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BULLDOGS VS GECKOS IN GSPN FINALS

The championship game has been set with the Okkodo Bulldogs and GW Geckos ready to go at each other Friday night after both teams got wins in the semifinals Thursday to advance. The game will be broadcasted on live TV for Docomo Pacific subscribers on Channel 2.

By Robert Balajadia

The championship game has been set with the Okkodo Bulldogs and GW Geckos ready to go at each other Friday night after both teams got wins in the semifinals Thursday to advance. The game will be broadcasted on live TV for Docomo Pacific subscribers on Channel 2 with the guy who writes these articles, Robert Balajadia, and Men’s National Basketball Team’s Seve Susuico calling the game.

Okkodo 55, FD 53

In the last two meetings dating back to last year, games between the FD Friars and Okkodo Bulldogs have only been decided by a single possession and Thursday night’s contest was no different.

Bulldog Karl Melencio hit a game winning layup in the teams first meeting of pool play and Melencio was a big factor again all game long. Nate Lorenzo had a game high 16 points to lead Okkodo and Melencio added 10.

FD’s Juan King was at the free-throw line staring down a 55-52 deficit with 13 seconds to go in the game. King nailed his first shot, but missed his second which allowed the Bulldogs to call a timeout to try and get the ball inbounds leading 55-53.

Okkodo got the inbound pass into Vern “#TheVern” Gustilo, but pressure by the Friars forced #TheVern into a turnover. FD then drew up a play with five seconds left to go as Tristan Jose drove into the teeth of the Bulldog defense, getting fouled with three seconds left to try and tie the game.

Bulldog Nate Lorenzo converts on a bucket through the Friar defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Bulldog Nate Lorenzo converts on a bucket through the Friar defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jose’s first shot dipped into the rim, but rolled out with a loud grieving sound of fans flooding the Phoenix Center. Jose’s second attempt was also off, but teammate David Sakazaki got through the Bulldogs rebounders and got the offensive board right under the rim. Sakazaki went up, but so did a host of Bulldogs that swatted away the attempt to seal the win.

Okkodo punished the Friars in the paint in the 1st quarter after a Gustilo layup put the Bulldogs up 15-2. The Friars trimmed the lead 19-11 an inched closer by halftime trailing just 32-26.

Lorenzo caught fire in the 3rd scoring eight of his 16 points alone in the period. Gustilo aided in a quarter closing 7-0 run to go up 47-39 in the final period. FD quickly answered back after using a 7-0 run of their own, sparked by Jose, to get back within one-point 47-46.

Melencio took two hard falls in the final quarter which forced him to step out at the 2:46 mark with his team hanging on to a 53-50 lead. Gustilo was also off the floor, but FD couldn’t capitalize after committing four straight turnovers until the final seconds of the game.

Jose and Jujuan King led FD with 12 points.

The Bulldogs will now face the GW Geckos, who defeated the unbeaten St. Paul Warriors.

Friars Jujuan King hits a tightly contested fadeaway jumper. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Friars Jujuan King hits a tightly contested fadeaway jumper. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

GW 71, St. Paul 67

In a high scoring affair, the GW Geckos didn’t shy away from the spotlight as they controlled the pace of the game and knocked the St. Paul Warriors out of the tourney.

GW got a balanced output from all areas with Devin San Augustin leading the way with 14 points.

The Geckos were heading into the 4th leading 61-49 before the Warriors made a strong run led by Angelo Rhodes and Adrian Manasala to get within 63-57 midway through the quarter. Geckos Lester Gaitan ended the Warriors run with a three pointer, and Eric Alegre poured in jumpers from the corner to stretch the Gecko lead once more.

Geckos Eric Alegre nails his third straight mid-range jumper over two Warrior defenders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Geckos Eric Alegre nails his third straight mid-range jumper over two Warrior defenders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors big-man John San Andres was beasting in the first half scoring 20 points though his team still trailed 43-37. San Andres did not have a bucket in the second half with GW playing a stronger inside game to limit the Warrior offense.

GW hit their free throws late and kept a large enough lead on St. Paul to punch their championship game tickets.

 

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