By Robert Balajadia
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POHNPEI – After a manic Monday of sports action Guam will officially be competing for six gold medals in a flurry of gold medal game action with each of the games going on just hours apart.
10 am – Men’s Baseball vs. CNMI
11 am – Women’s Softball vs. RMI
12 pm – Women’s Volleyball vs. Yap
2 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Pohnpei
4 pm – Men’s Volleyball vs. (Winner of Pohnpei vs. Nauru)
4 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. RMI
Tough Losses On Manic Monday
Monday’s action was plenty enough with a few of Guam’s teams falling short medal placing with the Men’s softball team losing 1-0 to RMI with a run coming in the bottom of the 7th with a base hit over the shortstop.
This is the first time Guam’s softball team has not medaled in the lasting history of the Micro Games and no one is more disappointed than the team themselves. The series of rainouts made the build-up for Guam’s match against RMI heavily anticipated and the loss in dramatic fashion still sits with the men.
Guam’s Va’a men’s team had a rough start to their 12 mile race finishing 4th with the home team Ponhpei taking gold. The women’s team placed Silver in the 9 mile race. Both men and women brought in silver for the 500m race on their first day of action on Saturday.
The table tennis team managed to secure the 4th place spot to win bronze after going through a tough set of really impressive players. The team admittedly didn’t expect the competition to be so stiff with Palau storming through looking like the early favorites. Guam hopes to make it out of the singles pool play to get into the quarterfinals which will also go down on Title Tuesday.
Guam vs. RMI III
The women’s fast pitch softball team avenged their only loss beating RMI 6-4 setting up a gold medal match against them again on Title Tuesday.
Tennis Secures Gold in Heated Showdown
Guam may have locked up all three medals in the men’s division with the gold and bronze medal games but make no mistake about it, all four players wanted to win and they displayed it in their play with a wave of emotion.
Guam’s young tennis star Brian Tuncap Jr. took gold over the veteran Charles Oliver in a 7-6 set win while putting together a triumphant comeback. Both Oliver and Tuncap traded verbal barbs with each other all game long, but the bickering came to an end at the medal ceremony as the men came together to celebrate the victory for Guam.
Anthony John beat out Joshua Cepeda for bronze.
Katie Lai won silver for Guam after losing a tough battle to #1 seed Palau’s Ayana Rengill while Guam’s Camdyn Nadler took bronze.
The tag team of Cepeda and Oliver won gold over John and Tuncap Jr. while the tag team of Lai and Charlayne Espinosa defeated Nadine Del Carmen and Camdyn Nadler, who took silver.
Oliver and Lai took the mixed doubles gold while Tuncap Jr. and Espinosa took bronze.
Guam Only Needs Three To Beat Palau In Semis
Palau’s Holly Yamada led her squad into a thrilling five set battle with Guam getting a razor thin victory, but Guam served Palau a trip to a bronze medal match, hold the late game drama. Guam edged out the win 25-17, 25-21, 25-21.
Team captain Emma Gillan-Gatewood hammered down two kills in a row to go up 14-5 in the first set as Guam got into a groove early. Middle blocker Kara Guerrero put an end to a small rally to get Guam back up by nine 21-12 with a strong slam.
Guerrero scored the final point to give Guam the early momentum which they rode closing out the second and third set.
Guam allowed Palau to take a mid-set lead with Yamada getting Palau their largest at 16-14 off a kill through the middle of Guam’s defense.
Shanniqua Mendiola came up big after teammate Maria Wahl tied the game with a kill. Mendiola scored on back-to-back slams to the outside to get Guam up 19-17. Gillan-Gatewood let loose a shot to get the 23rd point with the defense blocking Yamada to end the second set.
Guam closed out the game setting up a rematch against Yap with the ladies eager to right their wrongs in the their five-set loss in pool play.
Guam Climbs Out of Bronze Against Palau After CNMI Defeat
Guam had the #1 seed after beating CNMI in the final game of pool play, but Guam’s biggest rivals defeated Guam 2-1 to advance to the gold medal game forcing Guam to challenge Palau for the bronze medal.
Guam managed to defeat the defending champion Palau team 4-2 to advance to the gold medal game.
CNMI brought out their ace pitcher Josh Jones, but Guam still managed to register some hits shaking off Jones’ dangerous pool play reputation.
The tough loss came with CNMI getting a double play while striking out the red-hot BJ Balajadia and throwing out Ryan Martinez at first base to end the game. Balajadia had scored the winning run against CNMI in their first meeting.
Guam’s win over Palau came close as the defending champs were gunning to keep their title from 2010, but the bats came at the right times setting up the rubber match between CNMI for all the marbles.
Women’s Ball Trounce CNMI
The young stars for Guam continue to shine and the team got a big performance from point guard Kali Benavente beating CNMI 97-49 to advance to the gold medal game between either Pohnpei or RMI, both of whom Guam blew out in pool play.
Benavente is the back-up point guard behind starter Jocelyn Pardilla, but you couldn’t tell by the size of her game. Kali had 14 points plus a numerous of unrecorded assists, steals, and rebounds setting the tone for the team midway through.
CNMI started out the 2nd quarter strong scoring four straight points to cut the double-digit lead 29-20, but Benavente answered going on her own 5-0 run igniting a 13-3 run to close out the quarter with Guam in the drivers seat 47-25.
Guam kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second half with the entire team getting into the action. Castro did majority of her damage in the first quarter ending with a game high 22 points.
Men’s Volleyball Haven’t Lost A Set
The men’s team are not just undefeated they have also not lost a single set for the entire games. The streak would continue in the semifinals against Chuuk as the men with gold literally on their minds (gold hair if you haven’t caught on) are dead set on smashing the competition.
Each player has proven their worth all contributing in their wins and men are intent on keeping their perfect records going by successfully defending gold.
Guam Knocks Kosrae From Gold Contention
The heated rematch between Guam and Kosrae did provide late game drama, but not enough to knock the Guam men off their stride beating Kosrae 78-60 to advance to the gold medal game. Leading Team Guam was Will Stinnett with 21 points doing work from the free-throw line relentlessly attack Kosrae’s big men showing no fear.
Guam was only holding a 41-30 halftime lead that stretched into a 50-34 game after Stinnett and the team forced Kosrae to pick up their 10th team foul midway through the quarter.
Kosrae made a rally in the 4th quarter with less than two minutes left after a three pointer from Dio Taulung to cut a once 17-point lead to just nine 69-60.
Guam then buckled down on defense forcing Kosrae into bad shots and turnovers which forced the opposition to play the foul game where Guam was able to close out.
Guam’s defense didn’t allow a single point in the final two minutes of regulation icing the physical Kosrae team on a much cleaner court.
The wet-court issue that plagued all the teams in the beginning of the games has been almost completely neutralized with the diligent Micro Games staff wiping up every wet spot immediately after it appears.
RMI came back to upset the other top seed Palau setting up a rematch with Guam after Guam got a 91-67 win in the opener.
GPS Sports Calendar