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MEN’S HOOPS SQUAD AIM TO STAY PERFECT

Guam has never lost in the Micro Games

A preview of Team Guam heading to the 10th Micronesian Games from June 15-24, 2024 in Majuro, Marshall Islands

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The National Men’s Basketball Team will be heading to Majuro for the 10th Micronesian Games with a goal of keeping their undefeated gold medal streak alive.

The Men’s National Team will kick off the Games and will face Chuuk on June 15th to open up the competition. The team is on a mission of keeping their gold medal streak going.

In 2018, Guam went undefeated and took out the Marshall Islands in the gold medal game.

The Guam Basketball Confederation (GBC) put together a team mixed with experience and dynamic young talent to represent Guam this summer. “I’m was confident we have the talent needed to get the job done. The obstacle we face is inexperience at the men’s level overall, but we have a handful of players with Pacific Games pedigree who I believe will work well with the new additions to this roster,” said GBC President EJ Calvo.

Guam will go against teams from Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, and host Marshall Islands.

Jimmy Yi will coach the team this year and said he is humbled and excited to lead Team Guam this year. “It’s an honor to represent Guam, and this team is ready mentally. We have good veterans to lead them, and we’ve been practicing hard to prepare,” said Yi.

Yi referred to his leaders as experienced players Aljurrell Grape, Mark Johnson, and Michael Sakazaki. The three players have all played internationally in big FIBA games for Guam, and their experience will anchor the team.

“I’ve been happy to still be a part of the Men’s National Program for the last nine years. This is definitely a different group,” said Sakazaki. Sakazaki, the lone returnee to the Micro Games from 2018, will also play in the 3×3 event.

Sakazaki, Johnson, Leon Shimizu and  Blaise Ada will have double duty in the Majuro with the 3×3 event.

The foursome of Mark Johnson, Blaise Ada, Leon Shimizu and Michael Sakazaki will also represent Guam in the 23×3 men’s basketball tournament

“I’ve been blessed to be mentored by players like Jin Han, Joe Blas, Will Stinnett and Seve Susuico,” said Sakazaki. He said his new role in this team is to bring his skill level and pass on the knowledge to the new players, making their way up from the National Junior level.

“I have the role of being the mentor now, and I have the utmost confidence in this group. They are really coachable, and they all have high skill levels for the game,” said Sakazaki.

The team has high school IIAAG All-Island team notables Noah Tenorio (MVP), Noah Cruz and Raven Pascual. Shimizu brings athleticism and interior defense to the team. And then there’s collegiate players Matt Fegurgur, Ada and Yoshi Sayama, who are all capable of exploding on the offensive side.

Sayama said he is excited and honored with this opportunity but understands the pressure on this team. “We can’t take anyone lightly. We are going to give a 100 percent effort no matter who we are playing,” said Sayama. “The plan is to go in there and execute and play with our heart.”

There is no doubt that teams will be a bit more physical with team Guam: the target is on their back. “It’s going to get hostile. We just have to remain composed. We are going into unknown territory, but we have players who have the experience to deal with it,” said Yi.

Team Guam Roster
*Blaise Ada
Noah Cruz
Matt Fegurgur
Aljurrell Grape
*Mark Johnson
Raven Pascual
*Michael Sakazaki
Yoshi Sayama
*Leon Shimizu
Noah Tenorio
*will also play 3×3 event

Head coach: Jimmy Yi

Team History in Micro Games
2018 – Gold (Yap)
2014 – Gold (Pohnpei)
2010 – Gold (Palau)
2006 – Gold (CNMI)
2002 – Gold (Pohnpei)
1998 – Gold (Palau)
1994 – Gold (Guam)
1990 – Gold (CNMI)
1969 – Palau gold. Guam did not play.

Guam’s men’s basketball team put in some last practices before heading to Majuro for the 10th Micronesian Games. (courtesy photo)

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COMING SOON …

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

Father Duenas Alumni Basketball Tournament

Guam National Triathlon Championship July 14

QUICK HITS

Ryleen Mya Castro was named team MVP for the St. Mary’s College of California Women’s Rugby team in only her sophomore season. Castro is a 2022 graduate from Guam High.
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Coach Donan Cruz and the U.S. Men’s U21 National Team took home gold at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 27-25) win over Canada in Nogales, Mexico. The victory guaranteed the U.S. a spot in the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.

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