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BULLDOGS FULFILL MISSION TO WIN TITLE

Okkodo’s strong season finishes with trophy

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Okkodo Bulldogs held off the Sanchez Sharks to win the 2023 ISA Boys High School Championship game Friday night at the Southern High gym. The Bulldogs denied the Sharks of a repeat and held off a late comeback to win 49-37.

“Mission Accomplished. People do not know how hard we worked for this – we’ve come a long way.”

– said ISA MVP Elpizo Orichiro.
Monty Cabrera (25) was the Player of the Game of the championship matchup

Orichiro had 11 points, nine assists and six steals for the game but another starter stepped up under the bright lights. Okkodo’s Monte Cabrera saved his best game for last with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and three steals to earn the Wendy’s Player of the Game honors.

“The game plan was to play hard on defense and execute on offense. We wanted it more and it showed out there tonight,” said Cabrera. “This game is for Kayjay (Martin), we won this for him.”

Cabrera was referring to ISA All-Island player Kayjay Martin who suffered an injury (high ankle sprain) in the last game of the season. Martin’s injury prevented him from playing Friday. 

Despite being without a big playmaker, the Bulldogs finished their season 11-1 and have another banner to hang in their gym.

Game sequence

Okkodo led 14-10 after the first quarter. Cabrera and Tristan Noy made plays on both sides of the court to take the early advantage.

The Sharks grabbed offense rebounds to take their first lead of the game, going ahead 22-20 with center Ralph Macaldo scoring in the paint. Macaldo and MJ Simmy dominated the paint early giving the Sharks second and sometimes third-chance points to keep Sanchez in the game.

The Bulldogs called a timeout and regrouped with a 10-0 run to take a 30-22 lead at halftime. Orichiro scored or assisted in all 10 points during the run to close out the second quarter.

Orichiro had one shot attempt in the first quarter and dished out four assists. “At that timeout, coach (Arlene Mad) told me to shoot,” said Orichiro. Orichiro’s aggressive play during that run to close out the first half proved to be the difference in the game.

The Sharks trimmed the lead to four points in the third quarter with a Jace Dela Cruz three-pointer. The Bulldogs’ Cabrera later countered with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to go up 40-33 after three quarters.

The Bulldogs played good defense in the final period, forcing six turnovers to hold the Sharks to just four points in the final period.

Bulldog shooting guard Khylle Varela put the game away at the charity stripe in the closing minutes. 

Macaldo had a double-double for the Sharks with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Dela Cruz had seven points and two steals.

Geckos take 3rd

In the third place game, the GW Geckos defeated the JFK Islanders 65-60.  JFK led the first half but the Geckos had a strong third quarter to sustain the lead.

DJ Osborne scored a game-high 32 points,  Kaden Apiag chipped in 15 points for the Geckos. Josiah Madrazo hit six 3-pointers for JFK for a team-high 22 points. 

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COMING SOON …

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