Basa and company are back


Preston Basa, left, tries to dribble past Joe Sablan during their duel in the Marianas International Basketball League’s Kings of The Game last Saturday at the Agape Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Basketball in the CNMI is back with the Marianas International Basketball League holding the Kings of The Game—the first-ever 1-on-1 tournament on the islands featuring former national team players against the regulars in the hard court.

Preston Basa, Coby Santos, Dean Blake, Douglas Schmidt, and Freddie Pelisamen, who have donned the CNMI colors in past regional tournaments, led the cast of the 16-player pool, showcasing their individual skills in last Saturday’s competition at the Agape Gymnasium in Middle Road. Completing the field were Mak Mintac, Darwin Barbo, Joe Sablan, Matt Duenas, Jeff Castro, Jaymark De Guzman, Kelvin Fitial, Richard McWilliams, Arnold Arellano, Stephen Erdene, and Josh Andrew.

Mintac and Duenas kicked off the action in the Kings of The Game with the match going to overtime. Official results were withheld, as per requests by MIBL, as the group is featuring the event in the Youtube series about basketball.

“Marianas International Basketball league in partnership with IT&E launched the Kings of The Game as a platform to show the world our local basketball scene and also promote the Marianas at the same time,” MIBL head Clint Albert said.

“The tournament was played last Dec. 12, but fans will have to watch the whole tournament broken down in five episodes with the first one to be launched on Dec. 18 at 5pm in the Marianas International Basketball League Youtube channel. Please subscribe to see all the action unfold and see the ultimate winner,” Albert added.

Jaymark De Guzman, right, takes a shot against Coby Santos during their match in the Marianas International Basketball League’s Kings of The Game last Saturday at the Agape Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Each game in last Saturday’s tournament was played for 10 minutes with the player leading at the end of the regulation winning the match. In case of a tie, the player to score the first basket in overtime takes the game. A match can also be won under the 10-minute mark by the first player to score 12 points. A point is awarded to a 2-point field goal and 2 markers for a shot beyond the arc.

The tournament, which was the first basketball competition held in the CNMI since tournaments were either suspended or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a double-elimination format.

Besides the Mintac-Duenas duel, the other first round pairings were Basa vs Jose Sablan; Santos vs De Guzman; Schmidt vs Andrew; Arellano vs McWilliams; Fitial vs Erdene; Blake vs Barbo; and Pelisamen vs Castro.

While the first match was decided in extension, the next three finished early with the eventual winners banking on their steady performances from downtown to gain the outright victory.

Meanwhile, MIBL would like to thank the following for supporting the Kings of The Game: The Game Athletics, Sunny Side Cafe, Latte Built Gym, Shirley’s Coffee Shop, Eats Easy, Poki Yaki, Aqua Resort Club, and Agape Christian School.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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