The men’s basketball team that will represent the CNMI in the 6th Micronesian Games has been officially named as veteran coach Rufino Aguon announced his 12-man roster Friday evening at the Northern Marianas College Gymnasium.
After months of intense training during tryout sessions, Aguon disclosed the make-up of his team, which he describes as one of the most physically fit team he’s ever coached in his career.
“All the guys that stuck around realized that they have the skills but the problem is they’ve never been taken to the next level in terms of physical training,” he said.
Having the honor and privilege of suiting up for Team CNMI in the Micro Games are Danandro Barcinas, Jeremy Winkfield, John Sablan, Mel Manibusan, Mark Wallace, Kelvin Fitial, Jeremy Sablan, James Lee, Fred Pelisamen, Oscar Ada, James Villacrusis, and Gus Palacios
Ada, who will provide Aguon some height in the paint, is expected to arrive from Hawaii on May 17.
Aguon also added Joe Kapileo as an alternate and possibly will name two more alternates to the list, explaining that he has until June 22 to submit his final roster to organizers of the Games.
“I can always change my mind,” he said. “The alternates are there in the case that someone gets injured and can’t compete.”
The team also includes assistant coach Alvin “Champ” Fejeran.
“Based on all the practices and what they’ve been doing, one thing I know for sure is that these guys will do whatever it takes,” Aguon said as he described the team’s strength. “Practice was very intense, and if they can take this torture, I know they’re going to go out there and give their best.”
Shortly after winning the title of the San Jose Fiesta Basketball Tournament, Aguon said all his cagers signed basketball contracts that listed all his expectations from the players.
“That’s to ensure that we’re all on the same page,” Aguon said. “It states things that we should do and not do. As a coach, I use the contract to keep them focus…if you don’t [stay focus] all the hard work won’t mean anything.”
Aguon’s team is currently prepping for the Games through competition in the 2006 Budweiser Cup BANMI Men’s Island-wide Basketball League, which was strictly organized by BANMI for that purpose.
“Only time will tell if the Bud Cup is enough,” Aguon said as he explained that experience in real competitive games is one of the keys for the team to prepare for the Micro Games.
Aguon explained that while only playing twice so far in the Bud Cup, he has seen a big improvement in terms of his players playing as one force.
“I like what I see…they’re starting to gel and know their roles, and that’s the key ingredient,” he said.