Athletics coach Preston Basa is optimistic the 6th Oceania Area Championships in Fiji made a positive impact to him and the seven athletes that competed from June 28 to July 1 at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva.
Veterans Beouch Ngirchongor and Zarinae Sapong and newcomers Leani Acosta, Riella Ann Billy Ichiou, Jamie Pangelinan, Traven Quitugua, and Annalei Santos joined Basa in the trip to Fiji.
Basa, who is among the newest coaches being groomed by Northern Marianas Athletics development officer Elias Rangamar, said continuing the development of the two veterans and exposing the rookies were the purpose of the trip.
“The team performed well considering that we were not able to train the way we wanted to due to the renovation of the track. Development and experience were the purpose of the trip, which I believe our athletes were able to get out of the competition,” said Basa.
“Overall, our athletes performed great and are only going to get better from here on out,” he added.
He said the athletes even found the initiative to train by themselves once they were back on Saipan. “The athletes began training, which they planned on their own. The competition has positively impacted our athletes and has motivated them to continue their training in preparation for the next competition.”
Basa said he wouldn’t abandon coaching in basketball but would rather train his young cagers to improve their skills with the help of athletics. “Coaching in athletics and basketball is not easy, and both are very technical.”
“However, training for athletics would definitely produce great basketball athletes if they were taking part in both. Athletics builds coordination, speed, strength, and power; all of which are beneficial for basketball players.”
He added that he’s still learning with the help of Rangamar and other coaches that were ahead of him. “I really enjoy both and look forward to learning and growing more as a coach.”
Rangamar, in an earlier interview, said aside from keeping track of the seven athletes’ personal bests they also monitored the performances of representatives of the CNMI’s island neighbors that would compete in the 2018 Micronesian Athletics Championships.
Saipan will be hosting the sixth edition of the MAC from June 14 to 16. 2018. This will only be the second MAC since 2016 after a seven-year absence.