Guam Win Gold to Qualify for Pacific Games … Again
MANGILAO (Guam) – Guam is the FIBA Micronesian Cup Champions and will be heading to the Solomon Islands Pacific Games 2023.
The highly anticipated Men’s Final was played in front of a vocal home crowd with Guam too big and too strong for Palau, winning 93-45.
It was one way traffic for the defending Pacific Games Champions as they found their range, putting an exclamation mark on their dominant performance at the tournament. Guam Shooting Guard, Reo Aiken found form in the medal match, finishing up scoring 13, amongst five other players who also scoring doubles, Mark Johnson, Daren Hechanova, Ben Borja II and Matthew Fegurgur.
“It was a great game tonight, we struggled a bit in the third quarter yesterday so, it meant a lot to bounce back and get it done today,” Aiken said. “We have a great group of guys, and we all came together really well, we have great team chemistry.” Regarding his individual performance, the ever humble Aiken said, “My teammates deserve all the credit, they set good screens, get the ball into my hands and all I had to do was knock them down.”
Game of the day was again, Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) up against the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), this time playing for the FIBA Micronesian Cup 2022 Bronze Medal. NMI were too good for FSM, winning the bronze medal, 82-78. NMI Captain, Coby Santos, was in every piece of play, finishing the game with a double-double, 17 points and 15 rebounds.
“I’ve just been playing to the best of my ability and supporting my team,” Santos said. “Today we moved around a lot, and while we could have done better at setting more screens, we knocked down most of our shots.”
Regarding his individual performance, Santos was humble and proud to pull on the NMI Basketball Jersey. “I’m so happy to represent NMI, this is the first time our Men’s Team has ever won a medal at a FIBA Basketball event, so we are really happy.”
In a tense game, AJ Bisalen was efficient and consistent coming away with a double-double 22 points, and 14 rebounds. “Today was a good battle, sadly we lost but we will try our best to get back in shape for the next tournament,” Bisalen said.
In the top three mix of the tournament for performance and rebounds, Bisalen believes all the credit belongs to the team. “I felt good about my performance at the FIBA Micronesian Cup 2022, but it’s the whole team who deserves the credit, my teammates have been great.”
The FIBA Micronesian Cup 2022 featured national teams from across Micronesia, with 16 games played across four days from June 8 to 11 in Mangilao, Guam. The top team, Guam, has now qualified for the Solomon Islands Pacific Games 2023.