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MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: SMALL NUMBERS, BIG GAME

The competition in Papua New Guinea for Men’s Volleyball as part of the 2015 Pacific Games is bound to be stiff, but Guam’s small group of nine are welcoming the odds.

By Robert Balajadia

The competition in Papua New Guinea for Men’s Volleyball as part of the 2015 Pacific Games is bound to be stiff, but Guam’s small group of nine are welcoming the odds. With a small mix of veterans and a handful of national new comers the expectations don’t appear to be too high, to the public that is.

Though small, these guys are holding themselves to medal standards and are more determined to prove that international experience is a little overrated.

“Experience is important, but I want to medal. Medalling is my goal, it’s my teams goal as well,” said National newcomer Devin Maluwelmeng.

“The consensus is that we want to medal and bring hardware back home. The manifestation of representing where you come from along with the camaraderie is important but in the end we’re all competing against each other,” added team co-captain Jude Lizama.

Lizama has a wealth of volleyball experience but this will be the first time he’s traveling to compete. He’s of the older bunch on this men’s team so the young newcomers are still following in his lead and he’s embraced the role.

“We’ve got a good group here, a few veterans with a handful of young guys ready to go. We veterans aren’t scared of the competition and neither are the young guys. I’m really confident in my game and in my team because we are well rounded,” said Lizama.

Men's volleyball teams Jude Lizama hammers home a set from Robert Borden during practice. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Men’s volleyball teams Jude Lizama hammers home a set from Robert Borden during practice. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Led by head coach Mike Rabago and assistant coach Dan Hattig, the boys are in medal winning hands. Rabago led the men’s team to a 2014 Micro Games gold medal and Hattig did the same as the head coach for the women’s team in dominating fashion.

Although, the only returnees from that 2014 Micro Games gold medal are team captain Robert Borden, middle blocker Derrick Wahl, and dangerous hitter TJ Balajadia. The three have all taken some form of a leadership by making sure the whole team is on the same page from passing to serving.

“Our captains are leading us really good. We just have to follow their guidance and carry out what they’re saying and we’ll get the job done,” said Maluwelmeng of Borden and Lizama.

Men’s Roster

Robert Borden (team captain)
TJ Balajadia
Derrick Wahl
Nate San Nicolas
Jude Lizama
Devin Maluwelmeng
Luis Mesngon
Misaki Cramer
Eric Ada

PHOTO GALLERY:

Devin Maluwelmeng will be a powerful force despite it being his first ever Pacific Games. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Devin Maluwelmeng will be a powerful force despite it being his first ever Pacific Games. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Nate San Nicolas gained a lot of experience playing club volleyball in college and he'll be an asset all-around. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Nate San Nicolas gained a lot of experience playing club volleyball in college and he’ll be an asset all-around. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Luis Mesngong was part of the championship winning GW Geckos and he'll look to make an impact on the National team. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Luis Mesngon was part of the championship winning GW Geckos and he’ll look to make an impact on the National team. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Veteran TJ Balajadia is more than ready to face the Pacific Games competition even without majority of his Micro Games winning squad. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Veteran TJ Balajadia is more than ready to face the Pacific Games competition even without majority of his Micro Games winning squad. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Young Misaki Cramer is fresh out of high school, but he's ready to contribute to the success of the team. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Young Misaki Cramer is fresh out of high school, but he’s ready to contribute to the success of the team. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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