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WARRIORS WRAP UP HOOPS DREAM SEASON

St. Paul leaves no doubt on who’s the best on island

By Jay Leon Guerrero

Undisputed! The St. Paul Warriors completed their mission and finished their 2022 season on top. After winning the IIAAG championship over the FD Friars two days earlier, the Warriors won the GBC Varsity Boys Championship over the ISA champion Simon Sanchez Sharks 66-53 at the UOG Calvo Field House Saturday night.

It was a close game early and the Sharks were finding success with all-star point guard Jerfick Aunu making plays and controlling the offense for Sanchez.

Wendy’s Players of the Game: Rui Ventura (20) and EJ Cruz (24)

However, the game was called tight by the refs, and Aunu fouled out early in the second half with just seven minutes of total playing time.

“He’s a great player, we saw what he did to JFK in the ISA championship game but that didn’t dictate our game plan,” said EJ Cruz from St. Paul. “We just continued to play how we have been playing all season and thankfully came out with the win”. 

Sharks Bite First

With Aunu playing quarterback, the Sharks seized an early four-point lead. Ralph Macaldo had his way down low and Aunu found him open for three assists in the first quarter.

Macaldo had 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter alone and the upset-minded Sharks looked good early. 

Without their floor general (Aunu) on the court due to foul trouble, the Warriors took advantage with Xander Sanchez and Josiah Quintanilla scoring with transition lay-ups to go up 29-27 at halftime. 

Ventura comes up huge for the Warriors

With all the stars on the court, it was junior center Rui Ventura contributing in the second half to help the Warriors pull away. He scored 10 points in the second half and also had three blocks to prevent the Sharks from establishing anything on offense. 

Just as he did in the overtime game against FD, Sanchez came up big to finish the game. Sanchez scored nine of his 18 points in the final quarter, going 5-for-5 from the free throw line to secure the 66-53 victory.

“These guys are all my brothers,” Ventura said. “We all just go out and execute on the plays and do our best.”

Ventura, who had a double-double against the Friars, had 10 points and nine rebounds against the Sharks.

All five starters scored in double digits for St. Paul. Cruz had 10 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Josiah Quintanilla had 12 points and seven rebounds; Jacob Miranda had 11 points and three steals. 

“Even if we didn’t win it all, I love these guys on and off the court,” said Cruz. Cruz transferred to St Paul for his senior season and has no regrets for the move. 

“I’m thankful for the opportunity and they all welcomed me here with open arms. This season has been a blessing.” – E.J. Cruz

 The Sharks will be back next year with a handful of key returnees, including Macaldo. Macaldo had a game-high 20 points and had eight rebounds. Mark Becbec and Moises Manalo each scored 10 points each for Sanchez. 

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COMING SOON …

  • Brawl 3: Oct 13
  • Guam’s Strongest Man and Woman Competition October 29

 

QUICK HITS

The Figo Islanders 40s women’s softball team took gold in the Senior Softball World Championship in Las Vegas. Figo came out of the loser’s bracket and beat the Arizona Belles 17-3 in the AA division championship game Sunday afternoon.
Other Guam teams that played in the 40s tournament were: Team SOTTA (women’s) and Bud Light Guam, Friars 671 and Sindalun Guahan (men’s).
Sindalu finished a respectable 4th out of 24 AAA division teams.
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In Guam’s first time competing in the FIBA Asia Cup, we draw China, Japan, and Mongolia in Group C. Competition begins in 2024. Guam also moves up the FIBA world rankings to #76.

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