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MISSION TIANJIN: BASKETBALL

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By Robert Balajadia

The 2013 VI East Asian Games are set to kick off in October and Edward “E.J.” Calvo and the Guam’s Men’s Basketball Team is getting ready to make noise.  The team has been practicing at the GW gym in Mangilao for the past few months and are in the process of finalizing the roster for the national hopefuls.

2000px-Tianjin2013.svgTeams Participating:

  • China
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • Macau
  • Mongolia

Calvo’s experience as a player and tacit knowledge of the game has helped him gain respect from the players on the team.  Though, the relationships he built with some of the players outside of basketball have been put on hold when getting ready for the East Asian Games.  When Calvo played for the Guam National Team he was the point guard, which was fitting for his natural leadership skills.

Jin Han led the team in the final sprints of practice. (GSPN photo)

Jin Han leading the team in the final sprints of practice. (GSPN photo)

Coach Calvo elaborated saying, “As a former player, the first thing is making sure our relationship is set.  I have certain demands of them and can’t be so empathetic all the time, I need to also be demanding.  The minute we get into a business mode, they have to turn off all relationships with each other and take care of the business of the team.”

While competing with Asia’s, best Guam is considered the heavy underdog, but Calvo has the Guam ballers on mission to make a statement.

“We know the odds are against us even taking home a victory but we’re so excited about what we have here together that we’re looking past how tough the competition will be and just making sure that we put out our best effort and that we leave that tournament with everyone of those countries remembering who Guam is,” stated Calvo.

Guam will be looking to play an uptempo style of basketball to make up for the lack of size.  Calvo knows it is risky, but he feels they can do damage if they get hot.

Guam will be relying on veteran on-court leadership from team captain Jin Han, who was considering retiring from national basketball.

Seve Susuico doing ab-workouts in the conditioning portion of practice. (GSPN photo)

Seve Susuico doing ab-workouts in the conditioning portion of practice. (GSPN photo)

Han explained why he chose to stay saying, “My teammates really motivate me and I really enjoy playing with them.  They continue to encourage me to come out and it helps me mentally to still have that competitive drive.  I try and lead by example, my teammates see me work hard.  I try and push them and get on my teammates when they can’t make practice.  It’s also my responsibility to make sure they are as prepared as possible when we go out there.”

Calvo also selected William Stinnett and Joe Blas as team captains who are also tasked with preparing for the games.

Blas also feels one of his major roles as captains is to push his teammates in drills and workouts due to the limited amount of time they have to practice.  Blas has been to the East Asian games before and is hoping to have a better outing since he is a more experienced player.

“I know what to expect already so my mindset is to be better than I was last time. Basketball is a team sport and it goes through the team first, but I want have a better showing.  I know the competition and I’m ready for it.”

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Dom Sablan demonstrating ball denial skills. (GSPN photo)

Dom Sablan demonstrating ball denial skills. (GSPN photo)

Jin Han demonstrating perfect form on the conditioning exercise. (GSPN photo)

Jin Han demonstrating perfect form in the conditioning exercise. (GSPN photo)

Coach Calvo leading the team in practice. (GSPN photo)

Coach Calvo leading the team in practice. (GSPN photo)

Team captains William Stinnett and Joe Blas demonstrated going hard at practice. (GSPN photo)

Team captains William Stinnett and Joe Blas demonstrated going hard at practice. (GSPN photo)

The after practice huddle. (GSPN photo)

The after practice huddle. (GSPN photo)

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