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PACIFIC GAMES: WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

With talent oozing through the team, Guam Women’s Basketball is ready to take Samoa by storm in the upcoming 2019 Pacific Games.

By Kai Akimoto

The Guam National Women’s Basketball Team is gearing up to represent the Island in the Pacific Games next week in Samoa. The team has been preparing for over four months under head coach, Paul Pineda, and is eager to compete in the international tournament.

This year’s squad is in no shortage of talent, but when coupled with a growing team chemistry, the expected outcome could be very promising.

Head Coach Paul Pineda aims to implement a game plan that will utilize the amount of depth on the current roster. Size has always been a disadvantage for Guam in international competition, but where they lack in size they make up for in athleticism.

A faster, more aggressive play style is necessary to make up for size differences. To simulate how their style of play ranks up to the level of competition the team will be facing in Samoa, Pineda even organized a trip to the Philippines to scrimmage several collegiate and national teams.

Destiny Castro is faithful in the versatility and athleticism of her teammates.

“With this team’s talent, we are very well-rounded. Defensively we have a very fast team, so we can probably keep up on the defensive end and even trap the whole game. On offense, everyone knows how to play, so if we can just bring together all of our different aspects of our game that we bring to the table, we have a very strong team.”

One key asset that this particular squad possesses is roster depth. The overall caliber of talent on this year’s roster rises above that of past delegations. The combination of experienced veterans and young talent creates a balance that compliments the individual skill sets of each of the players.

With veterans such as Jocelyn Pardilla, who has represented Guam in two Pacific Games, leading a talented corps that consists of household names such as Kali Benevente and Destiny Castro, this particular squad has the potential to be the most productive to represent Guam yet.

Jocelyn Pardilla, who has represented Guam twice at the Pacific Games in her career, believes that the more cohesive the group becomes, the greater they will be.

“I think this team has really good depth. We got players who have skill, talent, and also experience. We also have girls who just have a great over all basketball I.Q. We have all the key aspects, now it’s just about meshing everyone together and building that team chemistry.”

Castro went court-side to discuss the talent-filled roster and what their focus has been on since preparing for the 2019 Pacific Games.

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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