Team Guam men's basketball look to defend gold in MicroGames
Guam's men's national basketball team will be looking to defend their Micronesia Games gold medal when they take to the court next month in Yap. Team Guam leaves island on July 14th with 11 players suiting up for their gold medal run. Veteran players James Stake, Will Stinnett, Mikeli Wesley and Seve Susuico will anchor the team with the newcomers to the squad adding youth and fresh legs.
Susuico said, "Every year we have a lot of young guys that are coming up with promising talent for the national team and this year is the same thing. We got a lot of younger guys that are willing to come out and step up. Some of the veterans are stepping out."
Guam hasn't lost a game at the competition and has won gold every time a team has represented the island. This time around it's a must win for the team after an announcement was that the games will be used as a qualifier for the Pacific Games. With Guam looking forward to the 2019 Pacific Games and a chance to defend their gold medal, word about the must win situation came as a shock to the veteran players.
Susuico added, "This being a Pacific Games qualifier, Micro Games is kind of a surprise to our program. We won the gold medal last Pacific Games and we were waiting for FIBA to give us games to compete in and now they put this on us. It's a good challenge for us so we are just going to go out there and we're just going to try and dominate teams that we always do at Micro Games and move on to the next tournament."
Coach EJ Calvo says the last games in 2014 held in Pohnpei were physical and Guam always brings out the best in their opponents. He was impressed by the competition and adds that teams continue to get better every time they meet up.
Ben Borja/Team Guam: I heard that the teams here are very competitive and they are going to do their hardest to take us down. I think we have a target on our backs for being Guam and winning the last Pacific Games definitely competition is going to be really good.
Ben Borja adds size along with Michael Sakazaki and Mikeli Wesley. Borja playing for San Francisco City College in the Bay, Sakazaki hooped it up in Hawaii. Aj Carlos and Raffy Sablan recently resigning with the UOG Trtions on scholarships made the cut, RJ Kranz also laces up for the first time for the national team, he's on break from school and attends Yale. Other notable players that have had success in local leagues making their national team debut are Merwin Martin and Billy Belger.
Borja said, "I think we have a lot of shooters, we're young and we have some veterans so we have experience with youth and speed at the same time. We also have some size, we are big on the inside and most of our bigs can shoot threes. So I think we can all really stretch the floor and that's one of our strengths that we have. But other than that this team all around is really good."
Adding more incentives to winning it all the vets wanted to make sure that the people of Guam know, "This one's for Coach [Tony] Thompson"