GECKOS FACE BULLDOGS IN FINALS REMATCH

GECKOS FACE BULLDOGS IN FINALS REMATCH

📅13 January 2016
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By Robert Balajadia

The GW Geckos and Okkodo Bulldogs will once again battle for the pre-season championship with both teams picking up semifinal wins Tuesday night. The Geckos won a close battle against the Guam High Panthers and the Bulldogs battled back from a 20-point deficit to beat the JFK Islanders.

Wednesday’s tipoff between the Bulldogs and Geckos will be at 7 pm with the exhibition game between Team Kali vs Team Destiny preceding them at 5:30 pm.

Bulldogs comeback from 20-point deficit to stun Islanders

The 29-9 lead midway though the 2nd quarter didn’t phase the Okkodo Bulldogs as they outscored the Islanders 31-13 in the second half to beat JFK for the second time in the tourney.

Aiden Ferrara and Vern Gustilo had 12 points each with the bulk of their scoring coming in the second half. Ferrara scored a bucket early in the 4th to tie the game at 35 and Gustilo burned the Islander defense for a quick two for the 37-35 lead, their first of the game.

Liann Torres made the big shots for the Bulldogs by hitting two clutch three pointers in the final three minutes. Torres’ first big bucket came at the three minute mark to tie the game at 42.

Torres then made a much bigger shot out of a timeout with 1:11 left in regulation to give break a 44 tie, giving Okkodo the 47-44 advantage.

Islanders Billy Belger and Chris Conner missed potential game tying shots and Gustilo iced the win at the free throw line to final the score 49-44 after more desperation three pointers in the final 15 seconds from JFK.

Conner was red hot in the first half where he scored 14 of his 19 points. Belger finished with 9 points and Aljurell Grape tallied 8.

After only scoring 4 points in the opening quarter, Okkodo returned the favor by holding the Islanders to 4 points in the 3rd quarter. Gustilo knocked down a pair of momentum changing threes in the 3rd quarter where Okkodo outscored JFK 18-4.

Nate Lorenzo forces his way in to get a shot up under the net.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Nate Lorenzo forces his way in to get a shot up under the net. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Geckos outlast Panthers in 4th quarter

A back-and-forth contest ended in favor of the Geckos with GW getting just enough to knock the Panthers out of the tourney in the 53-50 win. Despite going 6-22 from the charity stripe, the Geckos survived the late game drama after the Panthers got two attempts to send the game into overtime.

A GW turnover allowed the Panthers to attempt a corner three-pointer that hit the side of the backboard and went straight out of bounds. With six seconds on the clock, the Geckos threw an inbounds pass at mid-court that was intercepted by Panther Jujuan King and fed ahead to teammate Rodney Taitague for a three-point try from 35 feet.

Taitague’s shot was well short giving the Geckos the nod as they advance to the pre-season finals for the second straight year after winning it all in 2015 also against the Okkodo Bulldogs.

Geckos Nathaniel Kyle Gaitan and Devin San Agustin led the team with 11 points in a balanced scoring effort while the Panthers got double figures from the Rodney Taitague (16), Juan King (14), and Jujuan King (12).

Jacob Frias takes to the air for the layup over the defense.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Jacob Frias takes to the air for the layup over the defense. (photo by Daniel Paran)

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Aljurrell Grape slows things down to coordinate with his team.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aljurrell Grape slows things down to coordinate with his team. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Chris Conner is left uncontested as he hits a three.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Chris Conner is left uncontested as he hits a three. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Nolan Chamberlain makes his approach from the side for an easy layup.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Nolan Chamberlain makes his approach from the side for an easy layup. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Bulldogs' Austin Blaz makes a desperate attempt to breakthrough the Islanders'.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Bulldogs’ Austin ‘Mugsy’ Blaz makes a desperate attempt to breakthrough the Islanders’. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Lian Torres finds an opening to sink a three for the Bulldogs.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Liann Torres finds an opening to sink a three for the Bulldogs. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Rodney Taitague tries to make a last second attempt to tie the game.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Rodney Taitague tries to make a last second attempt to tie the game. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Juan King Jr finds the gap in the Geckos defense and rushes to the net.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Juan King Jr finds the gap in the Geckos defense and rushes to the net. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The Panthers put on the pressure as Ken Brozo of the Geckos tries to force his way in.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

The Panthers put on the pressure as Ken Brozo of the Geckos tries to force his way in. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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