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TITANS LOOK STRONG IN CONQUERING PRESEASON TOURNEY

Tiyan strength showing in preseason

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Tiyan Titans and Notre Dame Royals made the long trek to the championship game of the 2023 GSPN Preseason Boys Volleyball Tournament Sunday. At the end, it was the Titans defeating the Royals in straight sets (25-15, 25-16) on their home court.

It was an action-packed weekend with teams from the IIAAG and ISA boys volleyball leagues under one roof. Teams got to see their first action of competition to address areas that need improvement before the regular season starts later this month.

The defending ISA champion Titans continued where they left off last season under the guidance of head coach Rod Pama.

Gerald Malana and Nash Ericsson combined for 11 kills in the championship game, garnering the Wendy’s Players of the Game

Tiyan setter Tyrone Buekis left no doubt that he was the best setter in the building with accurate sets to heavy hitters Gerald Malana and Nash Ericsson in the championship game.

“It’s kind of weird but we came into this pre-eason tournament with a goal of not wanting to win, but a goal of wanting to learn,” said Buekis.

“All the positive things we got from this tournament was learning from the negative things,” said Buekis. “We were able to play against different teams with different styles of play and it will help us improve as we enter the regular volleyball season.”

Championship Game

The Titans started the contest off firing on all cylinders. Malana and Ericsson tallied three kills each to help the Titans win the first set 25-15.

The Royals were unable to find any rhythm entering the second set and were down 11-6 to start the second set. Ericsson continued to make plays with a kill and his brother Noel Ericsson had two service aces to help the Titans win the title.

Malana led Tiyan with six kills, Nash Ericsson had five kills and an ace. Noel Ericsson had three kills and three aces.

Caleb Pereda led the Royals with six kills and Masato Rabago contributed five kills and an ace.

The road to the title game was a rocky one for the Titans as they faced two IIAAG teams that took them into deep waters. The St John’s Knights and Titans went back-and-forth but the Titans won a hard-fought quarterfinal matchup in straight sets (25-24, 25-20).

After splitting the first two sets against the Eagles, the Titans were down 8-4 in the third set. The Titans reset with a timeout and made a run with Malana smashing two kills to trail 8-7.

All-Tournament team hitter Calvin Laxamana from Harvest recorded two kills to have his team at game point 14-12. The Titans dug deep in crucial moments of the game and scored three straight points to win 15-14 which made them advance to the championship against the Royals.

The Royals’ road to the championship game featured two three-game sets against the GW Geckos and the FD Friars 1 team. After pulling away late against the Geckos to win a dramatic third set 15-13, the Royals went up against the defending IIAAG champion Friars in the semifinals.

The Friars 1 and Royals went to the third set and won 15-12. The final point came from a combined block from Rabago and James Soriano.

Rabago said he was pleased that his team got a win against the defending champion FD Friars but his squad will not enter the regular IIAAG season over-confident.

“We feel good because we got a sem-final win against them (FD) but they didn’t have their setter and that was not their full squad,” said Rabago.

Rabago said the team’s mission for this tournament was to learn and get better. “During our practices, we play against each other. This tournament allowed all of us to play together and we are learning what we can do that’s different from practice,” added Rabago.

The IIAAG season starts next week, the ISA season starts later in the month. Visit GSPN’s website to view the league schedule.

2023 Preseason All-Tournament Team

Rui Ventura, St. Paul Warriors (12)
Nathan Balbin, Okkodo Bulldogs (12)
Tyrone Buekis, Tiyan Titans (12)
Calvin Laxamana, Harvest Eagles (12)
Gerald Malana, Tiyan Titans (12)
Joseph Mafnas, FD Friars (11)

All Tournament Team: (LR) Gerald Malana, Rui Ventura, Nathan Balbin, Joseph Mafnas, Calvin Laxama, and Tyrone Buekis. (photo by Cam Santos)

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COMING SOON …

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro June 15-24

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

QUICK HITS

Congratulations to the 2024 Guam Rugby Cup Champions: Tao Tao Mana (Men’s Cup Champions) and Southern Rugby Club (Women’s Cup Champions)
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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

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