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FRIARS, GECKOS MOVE ON IN PLAYOFFS

The GW Geckos and the FD Friars are the latest playoff victors to advance in the GSPN Boys Basketball Pre-season Tournament with wins over the Guam High Panthers and St. John’s Knights.

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Father Duenas Friars advanced to the quarterfinals of the GSPN Pre-Season Boys Basketball Tournament after defeating the St. John’s Knights 76-52 Monday at the FD Jungle Gym. The Knights were thinking upset and played their hearts out, but the Friars were just too strong and too deep to overcome. The Knights’ Takumi Simon awed the crowd with his Stephen Curry-like shooting going 6-for-9 from downtown to score a game-high 26 points.

Despite the breakthrough game from Simon, the Friars took care of business and forced 28 turnovers as they pulled away for good in the fourth quarter. Tristan Jose and David Sakazaki led the balanced scoring charge for the Friars scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively.

The Friars took control in the opening quarter with seven different players scoring for the 21-12 lead. FD’s head coach Eddie Pelkey constantly rotated his squad putting different defenders on the Knights.

The Friars led comfortably and looked to pull away after halftime, but a score by Knights center Isaac Sim and a three-pointer by Simon from the corner cut the lead to 31-30.

Coach Pelkey immediately called a timeout and demanded pressure defense from the Friars. Nate Taimanglo and Juan King Jr. responded getting steals at mid-court which led to uncontested lay-ins.

St John Takumi Simon throws up a floater and draws the foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

St John’s Takumi Simon throws up a floater and draws the foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Friars pushed the lead to double digits going after the Knights’ only big man in Sim who was in foul trouble. Justin Dimla and Sakazaki continued to back down Sim who eventually fouled out in the third quarter. After Sim fouled out, the Friars pounded the ball in the paint, scoring easily with the Knights’ rim protector out of the equation.

Sakazaki, King and Nick Clark secured the victory with insurance buckets to push the lead to 20 points in the final period. The Knights, who have a squad of just eight players consisting of six freshmen, looked exhausted but continued to hustle down the stretch.

Michael Min hit a jump shot, Arvin Flores scored off a steal, and Simon hit a deep three-pointer to get the Friar Nation cheering for them. Despite the scoring spurt from the Knights, the size advantage was in favor of the Friars as they scored easily off the offensive rebounds to close the game.

Despite the loss, players from St. John’s said they learned from their pre-season experience and they will work on the offense and defense when the IIAAG season commences on January 20th. “It was a good experience because we see the other teams play and we can make adjustments in practice,” said Simon.

FD Juan King hits one from behind the arch. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD Juan King hits one from behind the arch. (photo by Joey Blas)

“I respect that team, we had a hard time in the game. I’ve practiced with Takumi (Simon) before and you have to respect his shot,” said Jose. The Friars, too, will have to make adjustments in their defense the next time they meet up against Simon and the Knights. “We definitely need to run out to him more often,” said Jose regarding their defense against Simon.

King Jr. scored 10 points and had four steals, Clark and Taimanglo each scored eight points for the Friars. Min had six points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the Knights, Sim had eight points and eight rebounds.

The Friars move on to face the undefeated JFK Islanders Wednesday night at the FD Phoenix Center.

GW 70, Guam High 51

In the earlier game, the GW Geckos eliminated the Guam High School Panthers 70-51. Matthew Soto led the Geckos offensively with a game high 18 points, Rodney Taitague scored 15 points for the Panthers. The Geckos move on to the semifinals where they will face the winner of the undefeated St. Paul Warriors and ND Royals, who play Tuesday night.

GW's Jacob Frias pulls up and takes a shot from behind the arch. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Jacob Frias pulls up and takes a shot from behind the arch. (photo by Joey Blas)

PHOTO GALLERY:

FD Roy Taimanglo pulls up and drills a three pointer to put FD up by twelve points in the fourth quarter. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD Roy Taimanglo pulls up and drills a three pointer to put FD up by twelve points in the fourth quarter. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD David Sakazaki goes up and grabs the rebound and banks it in for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD David Sakazaki goes up and grabs the rebound and banks it in for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High's Robert Kranz dribbles down the baseline and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High’s Robert Kranz dribbles down the baseline and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Gam High's Kurt Edusada recives the inbound pass and dribbles down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

Gam High’s Kurt Edusada receives the inbound pass and dribbles down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High's Jorden Hunter pulls up for the jumper and was fouled during the shot. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High’s Jorden Hunter pulls up for the jumper and was fouled during the shot. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Devin San Agustin dribbles to the basket and banks it in, was fouled on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Devin San Agustin dribbles to the basket and banks it in, was fouled on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Nathaniel Gaiten gets the rebound and puts it in for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Nathaniel Gaiten gets the rebound and puts it in for two points. (photo by Joey Blas)

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