CNMI names junior team to MBT

Some members of the CNMI U19 Junior National Team pose for a group photo during a break in their training session last night at the Northern Marianas College Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)Explosive guard Ichitaro Faisao and Jack Aranda lead the 12-player roster of the CNMI U19 Junior National Team that will compete in the 2013 Micronesian Basketball U19 Tournament in Guam starting this weekend.

Faisao and Aranda played for Kagman High School and Saipan Southern High School in the Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization and were among the top scorers on their respective teams. They also competed in various leagues on island and were among the consistent double-figure scorers for their squads.

The two guards will be joined on the CNMI Junior Nationals by much taller frontliners, one player from the mainland, and three Tinian cagers. Chris Mizer, who suited up for the CNMI U17 Nationals last year and saw action in a high school league in Seattle, is reporting back for duty for the Commonwealth along with Tinian's Marc Babauta, Malcolm Maui, and Darius Pettis.

Completing the roster are frontliners Erick Dela Rosa, Bryle Alegre, and Jimmy Tudela, swingmen Shane Deleon Guerrero and Emerson Feria, and guard Ankie Manalili. Ed Manalili, Rufino Aguon, and Joe Villacrusis comprise the coaching staff.

The team will leave this Saturday morning and will have their last training session today. Yesterday they had a scrimmage against former members of the CNMI National Team and also conducted drills and practiced set and situational plays.

“This whole week we have been working on both mental and physical conditioning. I believe the boys are prepared and understand what is required from them to be able to win. Our goal is to give 110 percent and some. I believe we have a very strong team this year,” Manalili said.

The CNMI cagers will be battling teams from the host, Palau, and Marshall Islands at the Father Duenas Memorial School Phoenix Centre in Hagatna.

Meanwhile, the CNMI U19 Junior National Team would like to thank Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan for supporting their program and covering the travel expenses for PSS students who are on both on the boys and girls teams and the four coaches. The players and coaching staff also recognized the support of Mariana Resort and Spa (sponsor of the boys team uniforms), Tan Holdings, Triple J/Hertz Car Rental, Rep. Tony Sablan (IR-Saipan), Lt. Gov. Jude Hofschneider, NMASA, and the families of the members of the squads.


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