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WARRIORS STEAL SECOND HALF FROM BULLDOGS

The St. Paul Warriors trailed by as many as 16 points against the Okkodo Bulldogs, but a second-half surge and a go-ahead bucket from Warriors Adrian Manasala capped off a thrilling night of boys basketball as the Warriors managed to steal the game from the Bulldogs at the Warriors gym Tuesday night.

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By Robert Balajadia

The St. Paul Warriors trailed by as many as 16 points against the Okkodo Bulldogs, but a second-half surge and a go-ahead bucket from Warriors Adrian Manasala capped off a thrilling night of boys basketball as the Warriors managed to steal the game from the Bulldogs 67-65 at the Warriors gym Tuesday night.

With the game tied at 65 after a layup off an offensive board from Bulldogs Aiden Ferarra, the Warriors inbounded the ball to Manasala, who raced up the length of the court and flew in for a wild layup around the Bulldogs inside defenders. The layup banked in off the backboard to give the Warriors the games final lead with six seconds still left on the clock.

The Bulldogs Vern Gustilo then raced up the length of the floor, only to get fouled on his layup attempt which made Warriors head coach Neil Pineda livid at the officials for blowing the whistle on the attempt.

The pressure was on for Gustilo with 1.8 seconds left, and he missed the first free throw which erupted the Warriors crowd. Gustilo intentionally miss the second in an attempt to score off a put-back, but the time ran out as the Bulldogs were scrambling for the loose ball, ending the game.

Manasala’s go-ahead score wasn’t the only big shot he hit this season as he also hit a three-pointer in the season opener where they defeated the St. John’s Knights in overtime. Tuesday’s game-winner over the Bulldogs though was Manasala’s biggest bucket to date.

“It was okay,” said Manasala humbly after hitting the game winner.  “I was looking for my teammates, but no one was open so I just attacked the basket.”

Warriors Adrian Manasala converts on a floater over the Bulldogs Karl Melencio. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors Adrian Manasala converts on a floater over the Bulldogs Karl Melencio. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

The Warriors comeback started in the 3rd quarter after trailing by 16 points, 37-21. St. Paul applied heavy defensive pressure on the Bulldog ball handlers, forcing them into a plethora of turnovers which allowed the Warriors to convert on transition buckets to cut into the lead.

A three-pointer by Angelo ‘Arthur’ Rhodes and a layup by Isaiah Ewert allowed the Warriors to bring the lead back to single digits 47-41 late in the 3rd. Ewart then converted on a layup to end the quarter, part of a 14-3 run in the final four minutes to get within 47-43.

“We just listened to coach, he told us to box out and attack the basket and we did that,” said Ewert on the offensive change in the second half.

The Bulldogs managed to stretch the lead back to 54-49 after buckets from ‘#TheVern’ Gustilo and lead man Karl Melencio. Ewert responded with a bank shot off a pick play and a layup by Warriors Chris Monk got the Warriors the closest they’ve been since the 1st quarter at 54-53.

Warriors Isaiah Ewart makes good on a tear-drop to carve into the Bulldogs lead. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors Isaiah Ewert makes good on a tear-drop to carve into the Bulldogs lead. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Monk then found room for a three-pointer to tie the game at 59 after Nate Lorenzo had converted on a layup for the Bulldogs.

Gustilo then missed a free throw in the bonus, and the Warriors fed Monk up the middle who converted on a layup, via a goal-tend, to give St. Paul their first lead in the second half at 61-59. A Melencio turnover allowed the Warriors to take the lead again after free throws from Allan Santos 63-61 before the games dramatic ending.

Defense was key for the Warriors in the second half and their hustle on both ends earned them the victory.

“We were listening to coach in the 1st quarter, but afterwards we started straying away and doing our own thing.  We then started running the plays he wanted us to and played strong team defense, that’s how we won,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes led the Warriors with 17 points while Ewert and John San Andres had 14 and 13, respectively. Lorenzo was the high man for the Bulldogs with 17 points and Gustilo had 14.

The Warriors improve to (4-3) on the season while the Bulldogs drop to (3-3) in the Taga Division.

Other Scores

Southern 56, Tiyan 42
Guam High 59, ND 50

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Warriors Chris Monk skies in for a layup, but is met by a vicious block by Bulldogs Karl Melencio. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors Chris Monk skies in for a layup, but is met by a vicious block by Bulldogs Karl Melencio. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors guard Angelo Rhodes creates contact before his bucket on the fast break. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Warriors guard Angelo Rhodes creates contact before his bucket on the fast break. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Bulldogs Vern Gustilo soars in for two points. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Bulldogs Vern Gustilo soars in for two points. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Bulldogs Gustilo gets fouled and still converts on the acrobatic layup. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Bulldogs Gustilo gets fouled and still converts on the acrobatic layup. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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