CNMI U15 teams lose FIBA debuts

Posted on Nov 22 2022


The NMI’s Austin Diaz goes up against FSM’s Joshua Iehs-Panuelo in the 2022 FIBA U15 Oceania Championships yesterday at the University of Guam Field House. (FIBA OCEANIA)

The girls and boys CNMI U15 national teams both lost their debut games in the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships held at the University of Guam Calvo Field House yesterday.

In the morning, the U15 boys team composed of Michael Mercado Jr., Jay Pineda, Christian Lucero, Lance Lerio, Leonard Regalado, Jezpher Navarro, Austin Diaz, Slymark Defang, Onick Ragbonshe, Ethan Sablan, Mjay Capalad, and Kern Han fell to first-time FIBA Oceania competitor, Federated States of Micronesia, 68-89.

Later in the afternoon, the U15 girls team consisting of Chealzka Navarro, Aaleyah Fatialofa, Andrei Kaithlynn Chavez, Mia Abuan, Tamia Hix, Aiyana Fatialofa, Maria Enriquez, Valerie Estella, Mya Pangelinan, Asa Backe, Azriel Fatialofa, and Angelina George, was defeated in a blowout score of 37-85.

Lucero was the top scorer for the boys as he navigated the paint to score 25 points, followed by Lerio’s 17 points. Mercado and Regalado scored 5 points each, Defang shot four, Navarro and Diaz scored 3, and Sablan, Han, and Rabongshe contributed 2 points each.

The boys made a few turnovers with FSM overpowering them defensively as they stole the ball away from the NMI nine times.

FSM was paced by the 28 points of Joshua Iehsi-Panuelo and the 19 points of Yu Nakasone.

Over in the girls’ game, Azriel Fatialofa and Chavez twinned their way in the court with 14 points each, while teammates Abuan scored 4, Navarro scored 3, and Backe shot 2 points.

Guam was powered by the 17 points of Sazzanei Phayre Quintanilla and the 14 points of Lana Caparoso Quinata.

In other results, Australia topped Samoa, 105-36, in the other girls game, while New Zealand blasted Samoa, 104-44, in their boys encounter. Australia also beat Guam, 136-35.

Today, the NMI U15 boys will face off with the boys of Papua New Guinea at 2:30pm, with the girls facing off with PNG tomorrow at 10am.

The quarterfinals are set for Thursday, Nov. 24, the semifinals are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 25, and the finals are set for Saturday, Nov. 26.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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