The CNMI Junior League All-Stars are scheduled to play Hong Kong at 9am tomorrow to kick off this year's Asia-Pacific Regional Tournament, which is being hosted for the first time ever by Vietnam.
The team left the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport at 9:55pm Wednesday night bound for Nha Trang City in Vietnam's Khanh Hoa Province.
“Even though we did not officially receive word that we were in fact going to make it over until (Tuesday) night, we all worked very hard this past week in getting everything prepared anyways. Our guys conducted practices as usual and I feel they are ready to play. I am grateful that these kids were given such a great opportunity and I assure you that they are looking forward to participating in Vietnam's first ASPAC event,” said Junior All-Stars manager Bernard Cabrera at the airport Wednesday evening.
Cabrera added, “Lilian (Ada), Lynn (Duenas), and my wife Glenda helped us out a lot in processing everyone's travel arrangements and Roman Reyes and Annie (Flores) also played a big role in making all four teams possible.”
James Ada was also at the airport to wish the team well. He also thanked the supporting cast and expressed his gratitude to all of the parents and players for their patience due to the last-minute travel arrangements.
The team also wanted to extend thanks to Tan Holdings, everyone who contributed to the coin drive, as well as all of the other donations received in the days leading up to their departure.
The team arrived in Vietnam early yesterday morning and will get in a good night's rest before the start of the competition.
The rest of its schedule shows them drawing a 3pm matchup against host Vietnam on Sunday; a 7pm meeting with the Philippines on Monday; a 9am morning duel against defending champion Chinese-Taipei on Tuesday; and then a 3pm pairing on Wednesday against Indonesia. Guam pulled out of the show.
The Top 4 teams after the round of pool play will advance to Thursday's semifinals with the championship and consolation featured in Friday's finale.
“We know that Chinese-Taipei is a strong team, but we aren't taking anybody lightly over there. We are not going to get caught up thinking about things like that too much rather we are going to concentrate on playing our game and hope to catch a wave of momentum,” said Cabrera.
The team is made up of Jonathan Camacho, Jerald Cabrera, K.J. Deleon Guerrero, Terson Eina, Darion Jones, Michael Muna, Nathan Camacho, Jhace Palacios, Virolanson Secharmidal, Roke Tenorio, Kainao Wanket, Kenji Yamagata and James Kintaro, who unfortunately was unable to join the group due to passport complications.
Along with manager Cabrera, the team is fronted by head coach Randall Aguon and assistant coach Henry Lizama.
On behalf of the CNMI Senior All-Stars, Cabrera also sent out a big thank you to Reps. Ray Yumul, Joseph Guerrero, and Tony Sablan, Sen. Pete Reyes, Little League officials Roman Reyes, Annie Flores, and the rest of the organization's board of directors, CNMI district administrator James Ada and his wife Lilian; Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Vietnam's Tom Trueller, Lynn Duenas, and last but not least his wife Glenda.