CNMI delivers in crunch time


The CNMI Senior All-Star Team players and officials pose with competition volunteers after beating the host Philippines, 4-2, in the finals of the 2018 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament last week in Pampanga. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI Senior All-Star Team stepped up when it mattered the most to win the 2018 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament and make it to the World Series.

“We saved the best for last,” said manager Doru Camacho, talking about the squad’s undefeated run in the playoffs, including the thrilling 4-2 finals victory over the host Philippines last Thursday at the Global Villages, Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

CNMI Senior All-Stars had only one win to show before seeing action in the playoffs—bowing to Guam, 3-10, prevailing against Indonesia, 15-0, and losing to New Zealand, 3-4.

“We did not go all out in the preliminary round. We tried to reserve our energy and power in the playoffs, especially our pitchers. We knew we will be up for a tough grind, so our focus really was the playoffs,” Camacho said in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.

For their first playoff game, the CNMI Senior All-Stars faced Hong Kong last Wednesday and Camacho’s wards played steady for a 6-3 win. The victory moved the Commonwealth bets to a semis showdown against rival Guam, which swept its four games in the elimination to automatically move into the Final Four. The CNMI went on to eliminate its favored foe—a task that Camacho said was not easy.

“Honestly, we were not expecting to win via wide margin (9-2) because Guam beat us in our first meeting. Since we lost to Guam in the elimination, we just asked the boys to go all out as if it’s their last game in the tournament. We told them to forget what happened in our first meeting and play their game,” Camacho said.

“After that victory, the players’ confidence went up, everyone was so pumped up and happy,” the CNMI Senior All-Star team manager said.

Though their spirits were high, the CNMI Senior All-Star Team players’ body started to show signs of fatigue in the first five innings of their title match against the Philippines. The finale was played less than an hour after the CNMI knocked out Guam, giving the visiting team no enough time to recover.

“They were very tired and you could see it in the first five innings, as we were not able to score. It also did not help that we we’re not able to scout the Philippines. We were on a blind spot and played through our instinct—stay with our game plan, which is strong pitching and be aggressive in batting,” Camacho said.

After the long silence, the CNMI made its move at the top of the sixth inning, scoring three runs.

“Trevon Lieto (who hit an RBI double) sparked the rally and from there the boys regained their energy and the rest is history,” Camacho said.

Joining Lieto on the World Series-bound team are Leveque Iguel, Vicente Camacho II, Josenio Alvarez, Kianna Aldan, Pedro Maratita, Jordan Babauta, Dennis Cabrera, Justin Peter Celis, Aven Evangelista, Joaquin Fleming, Ignacio Mendiola, Donovan Deleon Guerrero, Joel Norita, Orren-Cody Cruz, and Arby Yaguel. Juan Manibusan and Alfonso Jose Evangelista are the head and assistant coaches, respectively.

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.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.