The CNMI Majors All-Star Team put on the final touches in its preparation for the 2019 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament yesterday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
“We are ready,” said manager Gregorio T. Camacho, who left Saipan early this morning for the tournament in South Korea and was joined on the trip by players Ezra Ada, Albert Adriano, Justin Camacho, Casey Chambers, Damien Herman Cruz, Joey Vincent Dela Cruz, Austin Diaz, Achilles Evangelista, Noah Iguel, Pattylyn Mendiola, Isaiah Mesa, Dylan Santos, Greg Tebit, and Melvin John Tudela and coaches Anthony Tenorio and Calvani Deleon Guerrero.
The CNMI Majors All-Star Team will be playing at the Hwaseong Dream Park in Seoul from June 23 to 30 and is in Pool A with defending champion and host South Korea, China, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Pool B has last year’s runner-up Chinese-Taipei, the Philippines, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Only the Top 2 teams in each pool after four games will advance to the playoffs and the eventual champion in the tournament will head to the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in August.
The teams in Group A were the same countries that the CNMI faced last year. The Commonwealth lost to three of them and won against Indonesia. Last year’s squad then defeated New Zealand in the ranking game.
“We don’t know if we will be facing the same players in South Korea, but regardless, we just have to play our own game and not take any teams for granted,” Gregorio T. Camacho said.
Evangelista, one of the only two players on the squad who played in South Korea last year, echoed their manager’s thoughts and at the same time reminded his teammates not to get intimidated by the favored squads in the World Series qualifier.
“We can’t underestimate any teams even if we beat them last year. South Korea will be tough to beat, but once you’re at the field, you must not think about that and instead be confident that all things are possible,” Evangelista said.
Santos is the other returnee on the CNMI Majors All-Stars team and believed this year’s squad is better prepared.
Meanwhile, the CNMI will also compete in the intermediate (50/70) division and is represented by Tinian players. The Commonwealth is in Group B with Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia. Group A has China, Japan, the Philippines, Pakistan, and India.