Connect with us

Basketball

ANNUAL FRIARFEST HOOPS TOURNEY ON TAP

Preview of the top teams heading into the 2023 version of the FD Alumni Tournament

By Eddie Pelkey

Typhoon Mawar delayed the start of the traditional FDMSAA Basketball Tournament. That gave the older guys two more weeks to ‘get back in shape’ and oil up the joints for the yearly summer Friarfest, which opens up this Friday with a full slate of games. GSPN takes a closer look at who we expect to be playing come championship night.

The FAVORITES

2002/2004
The defending champs are back and ready to defend their title. FD basketball royalty Willie Stinnett III (’04) and Vince Estella (‘02) continue to lead this experienced group onto another year. They will be leaned upon more heavily this year, especially with all everything Shaun Perez (’02) out due to injury (knee).

Matt Leon Guerrero (’04) and Napoleon Finch (’04) will continue to anchor the backcourt, while the loss of Perez opens up more minutes for sharp shooting Ricky Hernandez (‘04). The return of ‘02’s Donovan Manglona solidifies an already formidable front line with Estella and Stinnett, while Dave Tuncap (’04) will be around to slow down the opponent’s best player. Bo Santos (’04) and Jimmy Yi (’02) provide some much-needed depth, but can this group overcome the loss of Perez and another year of age? Head coach Bert Manibusan has his work cut out for him.

2016/2017
The boys of ’16 are back and ready to chase that elusive summer title. A recent combination with 2017 netted them super freak athlete Leon Shimizu, and he could be the missing piece they’ve been waiting for, as his stoic demeanor could be the calmness to settle the normally frantic ’16 group.

Devin Sudo, who was arguably last year’s best player, will continue to carry the scoring load and the return of R.J. Rokop will help. Frankie Tenorio and Zay Sablan round out this dynamic scoring backcourt which has no issues lighting up the scoreboard. Cole Merfalen and Brandon Eusebio will anchor the front court and provide much needed rebounding to get the track meet started.

The return of Jeno Aquino gives ’16 a legitimate low post offensive presence. There is no denying this team’s talent and ability. But as we have seen in recent years, they find a way to beat themselves and point guard Josh Paulino not being back doesn’t help. Could the addition of Shimizu be the final piece to the puzzle, or will this group, again, find a way to lose when it matters most?

2020
Labeled as arguably the best team to complete a high school season, the 2020 boys are back and
hungrier than ever. After last year’s disappointing loss to 2002/2004, where they blew a double-digit lead in the second half, 2020 is leaning on their recent success to help get over the hump. Colin Santiago anchors the ball handling duties for this team and makes them run like a well-oiled machine.

Christian Leon Guerrero showed everyone last year what an offensive juggernaut he can be and will be relied on to continue to carry the offensive load. But make no mistake about it: Matt Fegurgur makes this team different! The 6’9” phenom will be making his alumni tourney debut and after watching his boys helplessly last season, he is ready to make a statement and let the league know who the team to beat is. Elijah Dudkiewicz provides a big body in the middle, while Cisco Uncangco presents another deep threat to give Fegurgur the space he needs down low. The ghost of Kyle Camacho still lingers with this team and if he shows, it gives the young bucks another weapon and size down low. Isaiah Pelkey (college) will be missed but this team has more than enough to make another deep run in the playoffs. The question is…can they finish the job this time?

The CONTENDERS

2021
After a heartbreaking loss to 8-time champs of 2006 in last year’s playoffs, 2021 is ready to take the next step and throw their class’ name in the mix. Matt Santos and Daryl Robles form as dynamic a duo as any other team and man are they exciting to watch! Santos is a Ferrari that just won’t stop coming at you while Robles’ length and leaping ability presents problems at both ends of the floor.

Elijah Garrido provides a big body that score and rebound with the rest of them. Only question is will Jeremiah David be ready (knee) and available (college). Depth is a problem for this young group, but if this team proved anything last year, there is no quit in them. The right matchup at the right time and we could find them playing in the big game at the end of tourney.

2013
If its one thing we know all too well about FD…never, ever count out the host class. This year’s host are hungry and ready to do what hasn’t been done since 2014 when 2004 did it…win your host year! John Baza will continue to lead this group and carry the scoring load, while the return of big man Michael Sakazaki is expected to help, if he decides to play like a big man.

The freakish Jon Onedera will be leaned on heavily for scoring and rebounding. Jose Terlaje and Nate San Nicolas provide some athletic depth off the bench, while Allan Santos presents another deep threat. Rod Labreque is a big body in the paint that will help rebound and defend. Word is point guard Jordan Guevara (knee) will not be ready this summer so that will be huge hole to fill. Can Baza and company string together a few wins when it matters most? Time will tell.

2006
After one of their more disappointing finishes in recent years, the 8-time champs are back, even if not full strength. Brian Aflague and Rob Leon Guerrero will be the focal points this year, as Andres Reyes (off-island) and Mike Sgro (achilles) will not be here/ready by game time. Julius Yu is expected to make his return from a shoulder injury but its unknown how effective and often he’ll be available. Gus Untalan and John Pangilinan Jr. will be looked on to fill the roles of Sgro and Reyes but do the 8-time champs have enough talent and gas to make another deep run? As the class with the most alumni championships, we wouldn’t count them out.

The CINDERELLAS

2012
Fresh off hosting a successful tourney, the ’12 Pack comes back refreshed and ready to focus on just playing. Always in the mix come playoff time, John Ilao looks to lead his boys over the hump. The all everything guard has dramatically improved his jump shot which makes him a deadly offensive weapon.

Tony Paulino and Jerick Cruz provide some size, rebounding and scoring, while the playmaking of Christian “San Mig” Paulino may be leaned on more heavily this year. Tyler Tanaka provides some much needed ball handling and scoring when available, but the loss of Christian Payumo (off-island) might be too much of a load for Ilao and company to bear. AJ Toves and Geirgio Menneses may be looked upon more to fill the void of Payumo. The ’12 Pack fell to the upstart 2020 boys in the playoffs last year and are looking to return to a championship game that has eluded them since 2019.

2023
This year’s newest team is not short on talent. Fresh off an undefeated, multiple championship senior season, the boys of ’23 are eager to leave their mark amongst the men. Blaise Ada is as good as any player we have seen and looks to anchor this young group. Kiyoshi Sayama is as good a deep threat as anyone in the tourney, while Jaden Santos and Aaron Arceo are athletic scorers with a mean streak in them.

Noah Invencion and Colin Ada are good players that will help, but what this young team lacks is size, with football standout Caleb Murphy as their only “big.” Attrition will impact the older teams as they get into week three of the tourney, so ’23 looks to capitalize on that and make a deep run.

All the action begins this Friday at 6 pm. Tickets are available exclusively at www.guamtime.net. See you at The Jungle!

FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE ON GSPN SPORTS CALENDAR

Ad

GPS Sports Calendar

April

May 2024

June
SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
Events for April

1st

Events for May

2nd

Events for May

3rd

Events for May

4th

5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Events for May

4th

No Events
Events for May

6th

Events for May

7th

Events for May

8th

Events for May

9th

Events for May

10th

Events for May

11th

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Events for May

11th

No Events
Events for May

13th

Events for May

14th

Events for May

14th

No Events
Events for May

16th

Events for May

17th

Events for May

18th

19
20
21
22
23
24
25
Events for May

19th

Events for May

20th

Events for May

20th

No Events
Events for May

21st

No Events
Events for May

22nd

No Events
Events for May

23rd

No Events
Events for May

25th

26
27
28
29
30
31
1
Events for May

26th

Events for May

26th

No Events
Events for May

27th

No Events
Events for May

28th

No Events
Events for May

29th

No Events
Events for May

30th

No Events

COMING SOON …

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

QUICK HITS

Three graduating ruggers have signed Division I letters to play college rugby stateside.
Saige Calvo from Okkodo heads to Mount St. Mary’s
Mia Topasna from Academy heads to Lindenwood
Tanner Costa from FD heads to Iowa Central
—————————————–
Bailey Concepcion makes it to the Seattle Seahawks dance team for the 2nd straight year.

Congratulations @seadancer_bailey

More in Basketball