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GUAM TOO MUCH FOR PALAU

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By Robert Balajadia

The two best teams all tournament long came out on top as both the U19 Guam Men’s and Women’s team defeated the Men’s and Women’s Palau team in the championship game of the 2013 Micronesia Basketball Tournament.

Neither U19 team from Guam loss a single game all tournament, collecting a perfect 5-0 record.

The U16 Guam girls team had gone winless in the tournament until placing bronze with a big win over team CNMI, who was the second best team in the tournament.  The women from Palau captured the silver trophy.

The CNMI Men’s team were on the same boat, having not won a game all tournament until defeating the U16 Guam boys team, also the second seeded team, to earn the bronze medal.  The Palau Men’s team got silver.

(MEN’S) U19 GUAM 72, PALAU 55

Top seeded Guam's Men U19 finished 1st in the Micronesia Basketball Tournament. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Top seeded Guam’s Men U19 pose with their first place trophy and the Guam flag. (photo by Kevin Wang)

The U19 Guam team had been notorious for their slow starts but it seemed like nothing was holding them back against Palau in the championship game as they executed perfectly to add their fifth straight blow-out win of the tournament.

The guys form Guam got a big lift from brothers Aaron and Anthony Blaz who led the team in scoring.  Anthony scored seven of his 11 points in the first half to help get Guam out of a poor shooting first quarter.  Aaron scored eight of his 17 points in the second half to close out Palau which was part of a 16-2 run in the third quarter to extend their lead 57-31.

“It feels good to have a sibling right by my side to motivate me.  We’re there to motivate each other but most importantly we are there to represent our island, put Guam out there,” stated Aaron on having his brother share the winning experience with him.

Player of the game Aaron Blaz

Guam U19 Men’s player of the game Aaron Blaz

It was clear from both the Blaz’ brothers that playing with each other has been special but older brother Anthony expressed how good it felt to cash in his best performance all tournament.

“It was really important for me because all my life I’ve been getting second place so now it’s really big to now have to represent my island.  It was special to have my little brothers out there with me.  I’m really proud of them, but really I’m just grateful to get to play with them,” Anthony stated.

Palau kept it close in the first quarter trailing just 18-14 but Aaron and Michael Sakazaki combined for 11 points in a big second quarter to extend the lead 40-25 at the half.

The second half was dominated by the big third quarter run which gave Guam a comfortable 63-35 lead to close out the fourth.

Guam got a big scoring contribution with four players a basket away from double-digit scoring.

Raddison Dorado led Palau with 19 points while Edward Baysa scored 14 and Marvic Ngchar added 13 to round out Palau’s top scorers.

(WOMEN’S) U19 Guam 83, Palau 51

Top seeded Guam's Women U19 posing with their championship trophy. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Top seeded Guam’s Women U19 posing with their championship trophy. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Destiny Castro, Felicia Borja, and Alina Bonto led the charge for the U19 Guam team after getting off to a hot start, putting Palau in a hole too deep to get out of.

Castro finished with a game-high 23 points, doing much of her damage in the first half.  Guam led 49-20 at the half where Castro scored 14 of her 23 points.  The pressure defense Guam put on Palau forced a lot of turnovers allowing Castro to score most of her points on fast break layups.

Despite garnering a big lead, Palau scored on back-to-back buckets from Trang Ksano in the fourth quarter to cut the lead 65-49 when Guam head coach Eddie Pelkey called a timeout to let the girls have it.  Castro elaborated on what Pelkey was lecturing by saying, “We came out kind of ‘chill’ thinking that we had this game but the game goes on and we still had to play our game,” stated Castro on preventing a possible comeback.

Borja did most of her damage in the second half where she scored 10 of her 14 points, to help the U19 team reach their highest scoring output all tournament at 83 points.

Guam U19's player of the game Destiny Castro

Guam U19 Women’s player of the game Destiny Castro

When asked what her team has accomplished most all tournament Borja said, “Teamwork.  WIth a new coach and new teammates it just takes the team to come together as one and we’ll accomplish the same goal.”

Trang Ksano led Palau with 20 points in the loss while Bonto was the second leading scorer with 17 points.

Head coach Eddie Pelkey and assistant coach Jon Lujan were tasked with getting the girls to play together collectively, which was no easy task.

Pelkey commented saying, “It was a challenge but once they started realizing that they did not have to be the ‘star’ of the team and know that the person next them is also going to be able to do their job.  Once they started trusting each other then that was the most important thing about them being together.”

When asked what he was most proud of from his U19 girls Pelkey went not to say, “I’m real happy, honored and proud to be at the helm of such a talented group of individuals.  The message I said from day one was that we have to break down all barriers and this is not about Okkodo, Academy or Notre Dame but this is about Guam and we have to represent her with pride and I think we did that today.”

TOURNAMENT RECAPS:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

TOURNAMENT AWARDS:

(Men’s) ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Michael Sakazaki – U19 Guam

Sammy Setik – U19 Guam

Chris Mizer – CNMI

Jack Aranda – CNMI

Marvic Ngchar – Palau

(Women’s) ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Destiny Castro – U19 Guam

Alina Bonto – U19 Guam

Mahealani Adelbai – Palau

Trang Ksano – Palau

Rachel Abrams – CNMI

TOURNAMENT PLAYOFFS:

Men’s Finals:

U19 Guam def. Palau 72-55

(Third place : CNMI def. Guam 64-51)

Men’s Semifinals:

U19 Guam def. CNMI 73-53

Palau def. U16 Guam 63-58

Women’s Finals:

U19 Guam def. Palau 83-51

(Third place: U16 Guam def. CNMI 43-41)

Women’s Semifinals

U19 Guam def. U16 Guam 75-29

Palau def. CNMI 62-59

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Guam's Anthony Blaz shoots a long three as Palau's O'Brien Ngemaes attempts to block the shot. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Guam’s Anthony Blaz shoots a long three as Palau’s O’Brien Ngemaes attempts to block the shot. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Guam's Aaron Blaz blazes through the paint for a smooth layup. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Guam’s Aaron Blaz blazes through the paint for a smooth layup. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Palau's Marvic Ngchar made an impressive 360 degree turn to hit the layup, which ignited the crowd with many "Ooos." (photo by Kevin Wang)

Palau’s Marvic Ngchar made an impressive 360 degree turn to hit the layup, which ignited the crowd with many “Ooos.” (photo by Kevin Wang)

 U19 Guam's Destiny Castro hits the layup when she spotted an opening between the Palau defenders. (photo by Kevin Wang)

U19 Guam’s Destiny Castro hits the layup when she spotted an opening between the Palau defenders. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Palau's Trang Ksano had a hot hand in today's final game as she hits the three pointer over Guam's Alina Bonto. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Palau’s Trang Ksano had a hot hand in today’s final game as she hits the three pointer over Guam’s Alina Bonto. (photo by Kevin Wang)

 U19 Guam's Becky Rupley goes for the layup as a defender tries to swat the ball from behind. (photo by Kevin Wang)

U19 Guam’s Becky Rupley goes for the layup as a defender tries to swat the ball from behind. (photo by Kevin Wang)

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COMING SOON …

– Zach and Larry Return to Guam

 

 

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QUICK HITS

One FC champion Brandon Vera and ambassador Miesha Tate visited the troops on Guam during a USO Tour.

 

 

—————————————————-

 

190 runners took part in the 48th Hafa Marathon (half marathon).

 

Here are the top 5 finishers:

 

Ryan Matienzzo 1:13:17
Kris Lawrence 1:24:12
Taiga Sato 1:25:05
Chris Rasmussen 1:26:48
Carlos Leon Guerrero 1:28:46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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