Former Stars Prove They've Got GAME!

They are teachers, businesswomen, housewives, school administrators --and some even are even mothers.

However, that doesn't stop the Aloha Maid/ Gameville Lady Mystics from putting on their game faces on the basketball court and showing good sportsmanship off the court.

The vivacious group proved to themselves and others that they were still competitive when they got together to for the recent FIBA Varsity Basketball League Women's Division season, where they placed third after falling in the playoff to the eventual champions, the CalVOTEnorio Elites.

The team consists of former top athletes who made a name in the island's athletic scene over the past two decades.

Theresa Sison, Norma Lizama Salas and Mary Jane Nartia have garnered more than a few headlines. They were teammates on the John F. Kennedy Islanders girls' basketball team in 1983, which is the last time a Guam team won the Far East girls' basketball title.

Rita Lynn Anderson, Rhoda Santos Bamba, Rita Benavente, Rita Diaz Duenas, Michelle Sison Guzman, Michele Jacobs and Susan Rechebong Lupola, are all former Guam national team basketball players and have participated in numerous overseas tournaments, including every Pacific Games since 1987.

Then there's Maria Sanna Duenas, Sylvia "J" Flores, Sage LeBlanc, Donna Lawrence, Marcy Padilla, Arlene Pestanas, Yvonne Speight San Nicolas and Bernadette Valencia, the remaining teammates who became family over the season.

After all these years, these veteran athletes still haven't lost that passion for basketball.

"Many of us have families and careers, but we still make time to play ball," Nartia said.

And no matter the circumstances, they'll play ball.

"There was a game where the referee had to call a timeout, let a daughter kiss her mommy, then brought her back out to the bleachers," Sison humorously recalled.

"It's really not about winning. We were being blown out by 20 or 30 points this season, but we keep our smiles on," said Sison. "We tell them, 'Hey, at our age group, you guys should be beating us by more.

Don't get them wrong. Just because they're polite doesn't mean they aren't zealous.

"Some teams think just because we play with etiquette, they feel that our competitive edge is not there. Heck no. We are competitive for life and it's in our nature," Nartia said.

"The team did very well this season, making it to the playoffs. It's just unfortunate that I had to leave during the latter part of the season, when the team was at its peak," said Lady Mystics' coach John San Nicolas.

Mystics' guard Susan Lupola said she would like to see an improvement in women's basketball on Guam.

"It's very difficult to get enough teams to create a women's league. Often times, we're lucky to get one league or tournament per year," Lupola said.

Although this was the first season for the Lady Mystics, the team said they will compete again next season.

"Of course... (I will play) until I am 45. That's just another year," Flores jokingly said. "It's amazing we're still playing!"


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