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HAWKS BATTLE ODDS TO WIN BALL TITLE

Against all odds, the FBLG Hawks needed to just keep winning games. The Hawks fought out of the losers bracket, forced the undefeated BMS Roadrunners into an IF game, and ran away with the Harmon Loop Dental Boys Middle School Basketball Tournament title Saturday afternoon.

By Robert Balajadia

The road the Harmon Loop Dental Boys Basketball finals was looking bleak for the FBLG Hawks, who had to win out in five games dating back to Wednesday. A win in the quarterfinals allowed them into the semifinals where they had to play and win a back-to-back game just to meet the BMS Roadrunners in the finals on Saturday.

The Roadrunners finished the tournament undefeated, so the FBLG Hawks had to defeat the Roadrunners twice in one day. In the end, the battle tested Hawks ran away with the title in the IF game by defeating BMS 48-29.

“It feels so good and I was confident that the way these guys played the last game that we could force and win the IF game. I just told them to play aggressive and play within the system and the offense would come,” said Hawks head coach Mel Jamindang.

Hawks Isaiah Walig flies in for a layup through two defenders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Hawks Isaiah Walig flies in for a layup through two defenders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Not Over Yet

The Hawks were preparing for a long afternoon and the first meeting between the two teams made good what many expected to be a close contest.

FBLG came into the final period leading 21-20 before the Roadrunners Noah Elbo converted on a floater in the lane to give BMS their first lead of the game 22-20. A possession later, Roadrunners Jadine Geraurrd converted on a layup through a foul to give BMS their largest lead of the game at 24-21.

With the sense of momentum appearing to shift, Hawks Alvin Aromin took a swing pass from the corner and drilled a three with no hesitation to tie the game at 24. Geraurrd then fouled out on the following play with two minutes left in the game.

Both teams battled to a 28 tie in the final minute with the Hawks having possession. Roadrunners Nicholas Panginibar then inexplicably fouled the Hawks Isaiah Walig to send him to the free throw line  with less than 20 ticks left in the game.

Walig would miss the free throw, but teammate Illac Lalic was there to clean the missed shot and put it back up for a lead gaining 30-28 advantage.

“I was just thinking positive,” said Lalic on the biggest shot of the day. “Coach told us to continue to work hard in the next game.”

The Roadrunners attempted to go for the win as Gabriel Martin got a decent look at a three pointer, but the buzzer sounded after the missed shot giving FBLG a chance to take the title in the IF game.

Illac Lalic gathers the offensive rebound for a second chance bucket. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Illac Lalic gathers the offensive rebound for a second chance bucket. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Hawks Fly High

It may have been an “IF” game, but the FBLG Hawks left no ifs, ands, or buts about who was winning the Harmon Loop Dental Boys Middle School Tourney after using a huge 22-2 first quarter swing to take the title.

Key players Lalic and Jahmar White led the Hawks with 14 points each. Nash Espino led the Roadrunners with 9 points.

“Those two guys [Jahmar & Illac] are my go to guys. We work inside out with them with Illac in the post and if that’s not there we rely on Jahmar to attack the basket aggressively,” said Jamindang.

Leading the way for the Hawks in the opening quarter was point guard Jahmar White, who scored 10 of his team high 14 points in the 1st quarter alone.

“We executed and we played to win. Coach kept telling us to focus on executing and run the floor,” said White.

Hawks Jahmar White splits the double team on his way to the basket. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Hawks Jahmar White splits the double team on his way to the basket. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

The Hawks cruised to a 31-7 halftime lead, holding the Roadrunners without a field goal until the two minute mark in the 2nd quarter with three pointers coming from the hot hand of Audrey Dela Cruz.

BMS did come out stronger in the second half and managed to cut the lead 42-22 by the end of the 3rd quarter thanks to a three-point barrage by Nash Espino, but the cold first half was too much to overcome for the Roadrunners.

“We made our adjustments and control the basketball. We made good passes in the IF game and ran our transition game,” added Jamindang.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Roadrunners Dale Bautista looks for an opening in the Hawks defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Roadrunners Dale Bautista looks for an opening in the Hawks defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

(photo by Robert Balajadia)

Roadrunners Jadine Geraurrd gets a block on the play. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

(photo by Robert Balajadia)

(photo by Robert Balajadia)

Roadrunners Noah Elbo pulls up for a three pointer in transition. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Roadrunners Noah Elbo pulls up for a three pointer in transition. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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