CNMI cage belles bounce back against Palau

Posted on Jun 10 2022


The CNMI Women’s National Team’s Ky’Sonna Won in action against Palau in Day 2 of the 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup yesterday the UOG Calvo Fieldhouse. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The CNMI Women’s National Team redeemed themselves following an opening day loss to powerhouse Guam by routing Palau, 74-53, in Day 2 of the 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup yesterday at the UOG Calvo Fieldhouse.

The women nationals actually had a rough start as they trailed Belau, 16-15, in the opening 10 minutes of the contest. But the CNMI buckled down to work at the start of the second canto and turned their defense into offense that allowed them to outscore their opponents, 26-15, in the quarter to take a 41-31 spread at the half.

The wards of coach Catherine Attao-Toves continued to keep Palau at bay in the third as they nursed their lead all throughout the period and entered the fourth and final quarter ahead by 11 points, 56-45.

Palau tried to make a game of it in the early goings of the payoff period, but their repeated rally attempts were thwarted by some timely shooting from the women in white as they held on to the 21-point win.

Sisters E’Anna and Ky’Sonna Won led the now 1-1 CNMI with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Palau, which fell to 1-1 following an opening day win over the Federated States of Micronesia, was paced by the 16 markers of Kristen Sugiyama.

Attao-Toves said the victory over Palau was a total team effort.

“The first quarter, we had a very rough start. And I applaud our girls for being honest with themselves. At the end of first quarter, our girls took ownership of our errors and and dug deep within themselves and started to play like we can. We needed that awakening to know that it was our rock bottom, as a team. Throughout the game, each player encouraged each other and stepped up and contributed in different capacities.”

Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation president James Lee liked what he saw in the women’s nationals’ game against Palau.

“Against Team Palau was a good match up to see where we truly stand given that it’s an even match up. They started off slow but they eventually found their flow. They definitely need to minimize the turnovers. Overall, I’m happy and proud of our ladies,” he said.

While the women kept their gold medal-chances alive with the win over Palau, the same cannot be said of the CNMI Men’s National Team after the Joe Diaz-coached squad faded in the fourth quarter against Palau, 72-57.

The CNMI went down early and often and faced deficits of 24-14 after the first 10 minutes of the ballgame and 40-29 at halftime. The visitors gave themselves a chance in the third when their 3-point shooting was working and came as close as 2 points when a triple by Sir-Lashu Dela Cruz made it 44-42 time down to 4:23 in the canto.

They were just down by 7 points, 45-52, heading into the fourth, but ran into a brick wall—or more appropriately a taller and bulkier Palau side—in the fourth and they lost steam in the end.

Anthony Rudi led Palau with 16 points, while Jerry Ngiraremiang and Perry Oiterong chipped in 12 and 11, respectively. Coby Santos was the only consistent scorer for the CNMI as he nearly scored half of the team’s points with 27 markers.

Lee was visibly disappointed with the outcome of the men’s match against Palau following their Day 1 shellacking against powerhouse Guam, 45-113.

“Our men just need to trust themselves as they would when playing back home. If they can do that then they will be able to showcase everyone what they are truly capable of. So far, what I see is that they’ve been holding back and lots of hesitation which in turn creates missed shots and unnecessary turnovers.”

The NMIBF chief, however, saw a silver lining in the CNMI’s second game of the four-day tourney.

“On a positive note, we have a bunch of young athletes in this group which we can grow from and the FIBA Micro Cup tournament is not only a learning experience for them but also to help our federation with the continuous development of the national program,” he said.

In other games yesterday, Guam routed FSM, 72-57, in the men’s division. Results of Guam-FSM women’s game was still unavailable as of press time.

– E. Won 21, K. Won 17, M. Kautz 7, Alegre 6, Roligat 6, Pangelinan 4, Lumabi 4, Fatialofa 2, R. Kautz 2, Race 2.
Palau 53 – Sugiyama 16, Tevid 11, Singich 8, Kalbesang 7, Watanabe 7, Adelbai 2, Hilbert 1.
Scoring by quarters: 15-16, 41-31, 56-45, 74-53.

Palau 72 – Rudi 16, Ngiraremiang 12, Oiterong 11, Timarong 7, Ucherbelau 7, Ngiraimau 6, Gabriel 4, Redhor 4, Gibbons 3, Worswick 2.
CNMI 57 – Santos 27, C. Dela Cruz 8, Deleon Guerrero 5, S. Dela Cruz 5, Castro 4, Sablan 4, Brennan 2, Aughenbaugh 2.
Scoring by quarters: 24-14, 40-29, 52-45, 72-57.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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