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MICRO MEMORIES: CAPTURING SIX

Guam’s basketball icon Jin Han made his 20th year of playing basketball for Guam one of his most memorable moments after winning his 6th Micro Games gold medals in Pohnpei.

By Robert Balajadia

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There is something special about the number six in the world of basketball and as it turns out that same number has become a very special number for the likes of one of Guam Basketball’s most accomplished veterans.

Guam’s Jin Han joined the likes of the great Michael Jordan after capturing his 6th Micro Games gold medal in Pohnpei after playing for the Men’s National Basketball Team for 20 straight years.

“This is definitely my last Micro Games,” commented Han on possibly hanging up his illustrious Guam Basketball career. “In being that the Games is every four years, I would be…yikes!,” Han added in regards to his age.

The next Micro Games will be played in 2018 in Yap.

The first reaction the men’s team had after sweeping the gold medal game over RMI 88-50 was to lift the decorated basketball vet over their shoulders staging an unforgettable moment for the well-deserved Han.

Jin Han poses with his 6th gold medal after defeating RMI. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jin Han poses with his 6th gold medal after defeating RMI. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

“When the team lifted me up, it was unexpected. It definitely was a very memorable time. I play because I love the competition and representing my island, my home, is no comparison to playing for any league or club on Guam,” said Han.

It was also a special moment for Guam Basketball’s head coach EJ Calvo, who was once teammates with Han during Calvo’s heyday. Han credited all his previous coaches for molding him into the player he is today and even he has to give ode to his former teammates plans for the future of Guam Basketball.

“He’s a player’s coach and all the guys enjoy playing for him. He brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the table. I personally learned a lot under him and has my utmost respect,” said Han about Calvo.

“There are BIG things for Guam Basketball in the near future. It’s definitely exciting to see and glad I can be a part of it. There are so many things behind the scenes us players do not see. I truly appreciate all the hard work they do voluntarily and it’s all for the love of the game.”

The humble legend in the making never forgets to credit the people who have helped him along the way.

“I am just very grateful all my teammates and coaches have given me all the support. I’d also like to say thank you to Guam Basketball Confederation and GSPN along with my very understanding wife Jacklyn. Mostly, I’d like to thank God for allowing me to play the game I love.”

Han poses with the future members of Guam Basketball in Morgan Aiken, Kyle Husslein, and Michael Sakazaki. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Han poses with the future members of Guam Basketball in Morgan Aiken, Kyle Husslein, and Michael Sakazaki. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

The History of Six Gold Medals

The only way to truly experience all six Micro Games medals is to get behind the man who earned them all. Jin Han shared his most memorable experiences in each of the gold medals since his first one back in 1994 which happened to be the only one on Guam soil!

1994 – was my first Guam team experience and what made it extra special was that it was on Guam. There is no better feeling than winning in front of your home crowd.

1998 – was in Palau. I remember I sprained my ankle pretty bad a week before we left. I was really heartbroken & feared I wouldn’t be able to play.  I remember one game where we were winning and things started to get very physical.  A couple of my teammates ended up getting ejected and was not able to play the next game which was the gold medal game, if I remember correct.  My ankle felt a lot better but wasn’t fully healed. I played through the adrenaline and felt great contributing to help secure the Gold.

2002 – was in Pohnpei and we had a good mixture of vets and young players. I remember one game vs. Saipan. It was an early morning game and we were half asleep falling behind CNMI by around 20 points in the 1st half. We all stared at each other and had that “LOOK” to kill. We woke up in the 2nd half and ended up beating them by 20 or so.

2006 – it was held in CNMI. I remember playing Palau for the Gold. The game was close! More than half the team was high school grads or their first time playing for Guam. We ran a 4-corner offense with less than a minute and I ended up getting the ball.  I took my man off the dribble, the defense collapsed and I hit Alfred Vitug in the corner. He shot the three and hit it! Huge shot to give us a little bit of cushion and enough to secure the gold!

2010 – we were back in Palau and I moved over to the point guard position.  We were playing RMI in the semis. The court was very slick and we all had difficulty playing sliding everywhere.  RMI had two very quick guards and a team that can shoot the lights out. We battled all game.  We scored to go up by two points then they came down to try and shoot right before the buzzer, but James Stake got a piece of it. I remember a sigh of relief. We ended up winning playing Kosrae for the Gold which was a very balanced team. I had my best game of that tournament and help secure the gold.

2014 – we were back in Pohnpei.  My most memorable moment is my Coach EJ and the rest of my team hauling me up after winning the gold! It was unexpected and very grateful to have the support of all of them.

Han still proves he's got the range as he knocks down the deep ball against RMI in the gold medal game. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Han still proves he’s got the range as he knocks down the deep ball against RMI in the gold medal game. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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