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PLAYOFFS HEATING UP IN GHRA BASKETBALL

The GHRA playoffs are heading into their playoff elimination brackets with the A.G.’s Office and MBI/J.G. Stallions picking up big wins at the UOG Calvo Field House Wednesday evening.

By John Baza

Andrew R. of Docomo Pacific takes a shot from the inside before the AG's Office defense could react in time.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Andrew R. of Docomo Pacific takes a shot from the inside before the AG’s Office defense could react in time. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Game 1: A.G.’s Office 52, Docomo 40

It was a game of size vs. speed, with the A.G.’s office being the bigger of the two teams. Early on in the game, it was AG’s James Collins who took full advantage of the height difference, as he went virtually uncontested throughout the game on the boards.

But Docomo’s Daniel Duenas and Jan Flores surely weren’t going to let their team go down without a fight as they battled back with a pair of three-pointers and forced turnovers on the other team in the first half action.

In addition to Collins’ dominating performance of the half, Matt Phelps also contributed as he utilized his size to bulldoze through the defense and kick out to their perimeter shooters. Delivering the one-two punch, they would eventually lead their team to a 24-16 lead at the half.

Second half action was all AG, as they continued to roll behind Phelps’ four straight points in the first minute. But in the later minutes, it was Docomo’s Flores and Duenas again who would flex their long-range game, knocking down a flurry of treys to keep the deficit at single digits.

Despite the run, AG’s office picked up in the closing minutes to fend off a resilient Docomo team. Picking up the 52-40 win and advancing in the playoffs.

Collins led all scorers with 25 points followed by teammate Phelps who contributed 16. Duenas lead Docomo with 17 points in the loss, followed by Flores who chipped in 14.

Game 2: MBI/J&G Stallions 58,  defeat Cost-U-Less 54 

Surrounded, Bong of Cost-U-Less fakes a shot and passes to an open teammate on the outside.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Surrounded, Bong of Cost-U-Less fakes a shot and passes to an open teammate on the outside. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

In one of the more closely contested matchups of the evening, it was the energetic Stallions facing a fundamentally balanced CUL team.

Opening the game on a strong note was CUL’s Tony Blaz hitting a three on the first possession, his three would eventually be matched by the Stallions’ AJ, who hit a three on the ensuing play.

It would be team CUL taking the early advantage as they garnered most of their points in the paint behind the post play of Bong and Gerren Reyes. But not to be shown up, the Stallions’ Gino Soulik and Dave Topasna hit treys of their own from deep to keep their team in it.

Topasna would then go on to make hustle plays throughout the early half, forcing turnovers and converting on the offensive end. Team CUL would get things going later on with excellent ball movement and finding cutters in the key, but rare 4-point play courtesy of the Stallions’ Soulik cut that momentum (33-24).

Drives from Paul Harris and Bong kept CUL in it, but a buzzer-beating acrobatic layup from Jayme Saperna kept his team ahead at the half (38-32).

Intense action followed for the duration of the second half as it was evident both teams were eager to advance in the playoffs. CUL was trailing for the first 9 minutes but a Reyes bucket off a nice touch pass from teammate Chris brought them within two points (48-46) with 11 minutes remaining.

CUL’s Bong was a key factor in his team’s performance in the half as he would muscle his way to the bucket and finish consistently, setting up his team to within one point (52-51) after a pair of Reyes free-throws with 3 minutes remaining.

CUL’s Blaz hit a clutch three with under a minute remaining to tie the game at 54-all
but it was the Stallions’ Duy and Topasna who came through down the stretch, hitting a mid range jumper and 2 free throws to close out the game and help their team advance.

Saperna, Topasna, and Soulik lead their team with 15, 12, and 11 points respectively. In the loss, Bong lead his team with 15, followed by Reyes and Blaz who chipped in 15 and 12 points respectively.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Fritz struggles to find an opening as Cost-U-Less defense closes in on him.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Fritz struggles to find an opening as Cost-U-Less defense closes in on him. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Duy of MBI/J&G reaches out to catch the rebound.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Duy of MBI/J&G reaches out to catch the rebound. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Ryan of team Cost-U-Less tries to steal the ball from MBI/J&G's AJ.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Ryan of team Cost-U-Less tries to steal the ball from MBI/J&G’s AJ. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Team Cost-U-Less's Gerren lays one up against the backboard for an easy two.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Team Cost-U-Less’s Gerren lays one up against the backboard for an easy two. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Using his height, team AG's Office's James Collins tosses the ball in with ease.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Using his height, team AG’s Office’s James Collins tosses the ball in with ease. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Daniel D. goes for the layup as Matt Phelps of the AG's Office attempts to block it.  (Photo by Daniel Paran)

Daniel D. goes for the layup as Matt Phelps of the AG’s Office attempts to block it. (Photo by Daniel Paran)

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