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MICRONESIA TOURNEY BEGINS

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By Robert Balajadia

Guam's Destiny Castro makes a pass as oncoming defenders swarm her. (photo by Asha Robles)

Guam’s Destiny Castro makes a pass as oncoming defenders swarm her. (photo by Asha Robles)

The 2013 Mens and Women’s Micronesia Basketball Tournament kicked off Sunday afternoon with a short ceremony blessing to honor teams from Guam, Palau, and the CNMI.  Each participating island has a men’s and women’s team to represent them and Guam has an U19 and U16 for both men and women.

Tipping off in the first game were the Guam U19 Women’s team against the Women from Palau where Guam used a 29-4 run in the first half to blow the game wide open for a final of 70-31.

The U19 Guam team is made up of some of the best high school girl ballers on Guam including St. John’s Destiny Castro, Okkodo Bulldogs Felicia Borja, and Academy Cougar 2013 basketball champions Alina Bonto, Rebecca Rupley, and Gemilie Ilao.

Castro and Borja got hot early for the U19 Women’s team by combining for the teams first 11 points.  Team Palau had a tough time handling the ball with the constant pressure put on by the U19 team turning over the ball on multiple possessions.  After giving up a 21-0 run, Palau finally scored their third bucket in the second quarter to snap the cold streak and ended up scoring eight points in the quarter to keep the lead at 32-12.

Bonto got going in the third quarter for Guam scoring off a couple of and-one plays that put the team up 51-20 after three quarters.  Castro closed out the fourth quarter to push the lead to 61-22 before Palau would score on a number of offensive rebounds to break the 30-point barrier.

Castro led the team with 20 points while Borja ended in with 15 points.  Bonto also chipped in with 13 points.  Trang Ksano led Team Palau with 13 points.

GUAM U19 MEN’S 80, PALAU 51

Athletes from Palau, Guam, and Saipan during the opening ceremony. (photo by Asha Robles)

Athletes from Palau, Guam, and CNMI during the opening ceremony. (photo by Asha Robles)

Sammy Setik scored a team high 20 points, including four first quarter three-pointers where the U19 Men’s team posted up 31 points.  2013 Shieh Scholar Male Athlete winner Michael Sakazaki posted up 14 points to pace the U19 team as well.  Marvic Ngchar led Palau with 16 points while O’Brien Ngernaes added 10 points.

The Palau Men’s team were able to cut the first quarter deficit to just ten-points trailing 44-34.  The U19 Men’s were catapulted in the second half by Sakazaki and 2013 high school boys basketball champion Okkodo Bulldogs guard Aaron Blaz who scored six points in the third quarter.

CNMI 45, U16 GUAM WOMEN’S 29

The U16 Women’s team from guam had a tough first half scoring just 11 points, four in the first quarter, as they drop their first game against the women of CNMI.

Geraldine Castillo led the CNMI with 12 points while Mika Jakl led the U16 team with eight points.

U16 GUAM 72, CNMI 67

In the closest game of the night, Guam U16 had a clutch performance from David Sakazaki who scored ten straight points towards the end of the fourth quarter to close out CNMI.  He led Guam with 18 points while teammate Billy Belger added 14 points.  CNMI was carried by the 20 point performance from Jack Aranda.

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