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BULLDOGS CLINCH TOP SEED IN ISA HOOPS

Okkodo finishes regular season at 9-1

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Okkodo Bulldogs will enter the 2023 ISA Boys Basketball League playoffs as the top seed after defeating the GW Geckos 71-44 in the season finale Wednesday night on their home floor.

Kayjay Martin, the Bulldogs’ top playmaker and MVP candidate, exited the game at the end of the first quarter after suffering a sprained ankle. Despite the loss of Martin, the Bulldogs were able to play their usual team ball and held GW to 44 points.

Okkodo’s KayJay Martin ices an ankle injury that he suffered in the opening quarter vs GW. (photo by Cam Santos)

The Geckos and Bulldogs went back and forth in the opening quarter with GW’s Kaden Apiag and freshman center Darnell Camacho combining for nine points. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 16 apiece with Martin suffering the ankle sprain in the closing seconds of the period.

The Geckos gained confidence with Martin off the floor and likely out for the rest of the game. The Geckos went ahead 18-16 but the Bulldogs regrouped and went off in the second quarter with the support of their home crowd.

Khylle Varela and Elipizo Orichiro combined for 15 points in a decisive 24-6 second quarter run to go up 40-24. Varela drained three 3-pointers and Orichiro turned defense into offense after scoring off steals.

“We just had to calm down and play together as a team. It all starts with our defense, as long as we play good defense, our offense will come.”

– Bulldog Elipizo Orichiro

Orichiro controlled the tempo of the game in the second half, making the right decisions to set up his teammates for easy buckets.

Another component of Okkodo’s success was offensive rebounding. Monte Cabrera and Tristan Noy crashed the boards on both sides of the court which gave the Bulldogs second-chance points.

GW went on a 4-0 to start the third quarter with Draysden Fredrick and Jason Toves scoring early. The Bulldogs answered and increased their lead thanks to Varela’s 35-foot buzzer-beating 3-pointer to go 55-34 after three quarters.

“It was just a lucky shot,” said Valera. “But after it went in, I felt great.”

“Our gameplan was to keep playing hard and my job was to hit those open threes,” said Valera.

The Bulldogs continued to play team defense and held the Geckos to 10 points in the final quarter for a 71-44 final score.

The Bulldogs will host the fourth seed in the playoffs. To keep from a potential semfinal playoff game upset, Orichiro said his team needs to remain focused with or without Martin.

Wendy’s Players of the Game: Khylle Varela (left) and Elpizo Orichiro combined for 31 points, Varela poured in five 3-pointers.

“We have to play hard and execute. We have to be consistent on both offense and defense,” said Orichiro. “We are just going to go out there and do our best and give it our all.”

The only blemish on Okkodo’s record was an upset loss to the JFK Islanders last week.

Varela had a game-high 17 points, draining five 3-pointers in the game. Orichiro had 14 points and seven assists; Cabrera scored 12 points.

For GW, Kupert Louis scored a team-high 10 points. Camacho had nine points and five blocks. 

Other games: Southern 61, Sanchez 58; JFK 61, Tiyan 53

FINAL STANDINGS

Okkodo 9-1

GW 7-3

Sanchez 6-4

JFK 5-5

Southern 3-7

Tiyan 0-10

SEMIFINALS SET

Monday, Feb. 27

#4 JFK at #1 Okkodo 5 pm

#3 Sanchez vs. #2 GW at FD 5:30 pm

Finals set for Friday, March 3rd

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COMING SOON …

Guam Amateur Golf Championship June 2-8/9

Guam Youth Football League Kick-Off June 8

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro June 15-24

QUICK HITS

Three graduating ruggers have signed Division I letters to play college rugby stateside.
Saige Calvo from Okkodo heads to Mount St. Mary’s
Mia Topasna from Academy heads to Lindenwood
Tanner Costa from FD heads to Iowa Central
—————————————–
Bailey Concepcion makes it to the Seattle Seahawks dance team for the 2nd straight year.

Congratulations @seadancer_bailey

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