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FIJI UPENDS GUAM IN BASKETBALL FINALS

Offensive struggles drop Guam from the golden platform

Team Guam couldn’t quite complete the three-peat, falling short of winning its third straight Pacific Games gold in men’s basketball after losing to Fiji 51-47 Saturday afternoon in the Solomon Islands.

Guam cruised through the competition leading to the gold medal match, outscoring the competition by an average of 91-61.

It was a much tougher game against Fiji for the gold in a rematch of the 2015 Pacific Games title game.

The second half was downright abysmal offensively for Guam as we scored only two points in the fourth quarter, 11 points in the second half shooting 4-for-28.

1st quarter

Your starting five are Tomas Calvo, Jahmar White, Mark Johnson, Tai Wesley and Jonathan Galloway. Visibly absent from the lineup is sharp shooter Takumi Simon, who got injured during Friday night’s semifinal win. Simon was leading Guam in scoring at 19.5 ppg in the tournament so far.

Guam jumped out to a 7-3 lead before Fiji went on a 16-4 run to take a comfortable 19-11 edge.

Guam trailed 21-17 at the end of the first quarter with forward Mark Johnson leading the way with five points and five rebounds. Johnson and White were the two starters who played the entire 10 minutes of the quarter. Guam was 5-of-13 from the field.

2nd quarter

On the floor to start the 2nd quarter are Reo Aiken, Alschaea Grape, White, Ben Borja and Galloway.

Aiken’s 3-pointer ties the game at 23-23.

Tightly defended game as it was knotted up 28-28 halfway through the quarter.

Multiple fouls in the later minutes slowed the action as free throws took over. Tai Wesley had all eight first half points in the second quarter while Aiken dropped two 3-pointers as Guam held a slim 36-32 halftime lead. Guam mirrored its first quarter shooting at 5-for-13 from the field.

3rd quarter

The starting five will get the second half going for Guam.

Fiji scores the first six points to take back the lead 38-36.

Points are hard to come by. Five minutes in, and Guam has scored only three points.

Aiken comes up with a big trey from the top of the key to push Guam back in front 44-43.

Both teams struggle for baskets as Guam shoots 3-of-13 and Fiji shoots slightly better at 7-of-18. Fiji scores late to take a 47-45 lead heading into the final quarter.

4th quarter

Coach EJ Calvo will go with Calvo, Aiken, Borja, Johnson and Galloway to open the final quarter.

The offensive struggles continue as Guam misses 10 of its first 11 shots, scoring only two points in the first seven minutes. Fiji was shooting just as bad at that point at 1-for-11.

Almost seven minutes into the quarter and its still Fiji ahead 50-47.

Two minutes to go and we’re stuck at 50-47 as nothing is going in for either team…not even free throws.

Almost a minute to go and both teams are shooting an identical 1-for-13 in the quarter.

White missed a 3-point shot with :27 left that would’ve tied the game at 50.

A desperation 3-pointer by Aiken with :03 left was off the mark as Guam suffers a heart-breaker.

“Our Guam men will be coming home with a silver from the Pacific Games…but I couldn’t be more proud of the overall performance of this squad. We dominated the field, and just couldn’t get a shot to drop against a tough Fiji team. Our men will remember this loss as part of their journey and continue to work hard.
Our standard is high after playing in 7 straight Gold Medal Games at the Pacific Games…and nothing less than gold is acceptable. Most of this team will be back and hungrier than ever…so I expect big growth from this young and talented group!

– Guam head coach E.J. Calvo

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COMING SOON …

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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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