The CNMI made it to the semifinals of the IBF Youth Leadership Cup U18 Mixed 3×3 Tournament held over the weekend at the Discovery Shopping Mall Centre in Bali, Indonesia.
The quartet of Cassandra Camacho, Alliyah Fernandez, Dean Blake, and Coby Santos swept its first four games in the tournament organized by FIBA’s International Basketball Foundation to finish in the Top 4 out of the 16 teams from 14 countries that participated in the competition. The CNMI players debuted in the youth caging with an 11-6 victory over Guam. Up next for the Commonwealth crew was Laos and they eked out a 7-6 triumph in the Pool A game. Then for their last match in the group, Blake and company defeated Brunei, 8-4, to march into the quarterfinals.
In the playoff round, the CNMI was first pitted against Myanmar and the former extended its streak and advanced to the semis after recording a 10-7 triumph. Then in the semis, the Commonwealth players were paired against Singapore, which denied the CNMI entry to the finals after pulling off an 8-6 victory.
The CNMI ended up placing fourth in the weekend tournament. The Commonwealth and Papua New Guinea did not play in the battle for third place match and the latter finished ahead of the CNMI after totaling the two teams points in all games, according to Lia Rangamar, who accompanied Blake, Fernandez, Santos, and Camacho in Indonesia. The CNMI collected 42 points in five games for an average of 8.4 per match, while PNG got 50 (10 points per game average).
The Philippines, which was represented by National University players Kent Jane Pastrana, Therese Ayenga, Dominic Dayrit, and Karl Kevin Quiambao, ruled the 3×3 tournament after dominating Singapore in the finals, 15-8. The Philippines also scored the most points in the competition with its 88 markers in six games, while the runner-up Singapore, which was represented by Lydia Ang Zi Yi, Crystal Yeaw Jia Jing, Ye Hui Cheng, and Shi Yu Ng, totaled 61.
Despite missing the finals, the CNMI players were proud of what they accomplished in the competition.
“It was a challenge for us. We played against people from other countries with amazing skills. It was great to have this opportunity and it was an amazing experience. Everyone did their best,” said Blake, who along with other members of the CNMI team are scheduled to return to Saipan today.
Blake, Santos, and Camacho earned the rights to represent the CNMI in the 3×3 tournament in Bali after topping a qualifying tournament that Mariana Islands Basketball Federation hosted in July this year. Fernandez competed in the same qualifier and was added on the four-player roster.
Meanwhile, Coming in behind the Commonwealth at fifth place was Cambodia, which was followed by Guam, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, Fiji, Timor-Leste, and Laos.