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MICRONESIAN HOOPS OPENS

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By Rob Leon Guererro

The Guam Men’s Jr National team’s Reed Meyer attempts to complete an alley-oop layup in his game against Palau. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The UOG Field House welcomed several national basketball teams as the Micronesian Basketball Tournament kicked off Sunday afternoon. With seven men’s teams and four women’s teams to play over the next week, the tournament saw a diverse crowd of Micronesians (Guamanians included) coming out to support their respective nations. Seven men’s and four women’s teams make up the week-long tournament.

In the opening game, Guam worked off some of their rust on their way to a route of Pohnpei, 125-58. With the win, Guam looks to position itself as the tournament favorite.

From the tip-off both teams looked to push the pace of the game, making for turnovers and missed opportunities. The much larger Team Guam used a smothering defense to suffocate Pohnpei, leading to turnovers and fast break points. Guam also looked to take advantage of the size difference, establishing a presence inside; however, they found difficulties converting short-range baskets. Seve Susuico and Romeo Sanchez were effective in the post, while point guard Earvin Jose looked to attack from outside. The speed and size of Guam gave Pohnpei problems all day, forcing them into foul trouble and keeping them from creating any momentum. The first half saw a poor shooting performance from Team Guam, yet their defense was more than enough to keep Pohnpei from capitalizing, taking them into halftime leading 68-28.

Team Guam blew out team Chuuk, 114-58, in one of the last games of the night. (photo by Errol ALegre, Jr.)

The second half saw much of the same intensity from Guam’s defense, as Pohnpei continued their troubles, unable to penetrate the stifling defense of their opponents. Joe Blas overcame his early shooting woes to explode for twelve of his twenty-nine points in the third quarter, as Guam continued to dominate on both ends of the court. James Stake, Jose, Will Stinnett and Sandy Fejeran turned on the pressure, causing several turnovers resulting in fast break points for the home team. Despite a crowd-delighting performance from Pohnpei’s quick, fearless guards, they were unable to keep up, as Guam finished off the game winning 125-58.

Blas led Guam with 29 points, while Jose had 16 points and five assists, and Susuico and Sanchez both chipped in 14. Saperna scored 14 points to lead Pohnpei, and Correy Abraham added seven points in the loss.

In other games:

Men’s Division

Guam Senior National def.Chuuk 114-58

Palau def. Yap 126-34

Marshall Islands def. Guam Junior National 75-73 (OT)

Pohnpei def. Yap 125-67

Guam Junior National def. Palau 82-71

 

Women’s Division

Guam Senior National def. University of Guam 67-45

Guam Junior National def. Marshall Islands 66-31

 

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