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GUAM GETS READY FOR FAR EAST BASKETBALL

High school teams from Guam are beginning to head out over the weekend to get ready for the Far East Tournament that starts February 17th in Okinawa Japan.

By Robert Balajadia

Guam high schoolers are gearing up for the 2014 Far East Basketball Tournament in Okinawa Japan starting Monday February 17. The Host school this year is Kubasaki.

A total of 13 of the boys and girls teams will represent Guam. (7 girls and 5 boys)

2014 Girls

Dolphins’ April "Speedy" Talledo is going to create a lot of match up problems with her speed. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Dolphins’ April “Speedy” Talledo is going to create a lot of match up problems with her speed. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Southern – The 2013 champs will be entering the tournament after a terrific season. The guard play will be the Dolphins strongest part of their game behind April Talledo and the ability to score in bunches from forward Brielle Meno will only benefit the Dolphins.

AOLG – The Cougars will lean on veteran leadership to guide through the tournament in Alina Bonto and Gemilie Ilao. The two have deep basketball backgrounds and the experience will prove the two-time champs well. Guard Kali Benavente will control the offense with her ability to handle the ball well and read defenses.

JFK – The biggest advantage the Islanders will have is their height in Allison Bowman and forward Rufina Royster who are adept at grabbing rebounds. Defense has been their strong suit all 2013 season and they will be looking to perform more of the same.

ND – Royals’ Destiny Castro will be making her Far East debut in hopes to carry the Royals to success like she had done all season long.

Okkodo – The Bulldogs play a physical game with one of the more physical players in the league in Felicia Borja. If Borja gets going, the Bulldogs can grab wins.

GW – The Geckos took down the higher seeded Bulldogs in the playoffs but coach Jon Lujan never considered it an upset. The Geckos will need to rely on scoring from Dyonii Quitugua to collect tournament wins.

Guam High – The Panthers are heavy underdogs in the tournament, but like volleyball in 2013, the Panthers found success in the Far East Tournament.

GIRLS POOL

Pool A
Notre Dame
ASIJ
Kubasaki

Pool B
Southern
Okkodo
Seisen
Yokoto

Pool C
Academy of our Lady
JFK
Seoul American
Christian Academy of Japan

Pool D
GW
Guam High
Kadena
Kinnick

2014 Boys

Okkodo's Vernave Gustilo splits the defense and lays it in for 2 points against the Islanders. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Vernave Gustilo splits the defense and lays it in for 2 points against the Islanders. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK – The Islanders share a league best record at 9-2 and have an offense that spreads the floor with shooters as good as any high school team on Guam. Guard Kurtis Silva is instant offense and plays lockdown defense while shooters like Billy Belger and Ricky Pak help stretch the defense.

Okkodo – The Bulldogs are the defending champions and have proved to do well in the Far East Tournament in recent years. Big men Ben Borja and Jed Antonio will give the Bulldogs the edge in the post against the expected height in Far East opponents.

Guam High – The Panthers hit a mid season snag after going undefeated, but their offense and defense from their backcourt in LJ Aguon and Austy Hines allow them to control the pace of most games. The Panthers defense usually fuels their wins and big play from the guards should help them throughout the tournament.

FD – The Friars are always a dangerous team and point guard Bruce Merrill will be relied upon to make the offense click. Big man Jeremiah Taitano should give FD a stable presence down low, but an overall team effort will be needed for the Friars to make some noise.

Southern – The Dolphins have taken the top teams towards to the brink this year and were just a few plays away each game from owning one of the league’s best record. Coach Sid Guzman has done great with the boys this year and a balanced scoring effort should aid the Dolphins throughout the tournament.

GW – The Gecckos are the only Guam boys team heading into the tournament under .500 win percentage after being one of the top teams in 2012 when they won the boys title. GW has a lot of fight in them and will be relying on the veteran leadership of Jason Frias to pull out some wins.

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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