Host CNMI will open its title bid in the Inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic tonight when it takes on Kosrae in the opening game at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Game time is at 6:30pm after an elaborated opening ceremony at 5pm. MBC tournament director Tony Rogolifoi is requesting all participating teams to be at the venue before 5pm for the parade. The community is also invited to watch the opening rites.
The home team will feature 22 players pulled out from the 2016 Saipan Baseball League. The list includes the GSM Brewers’ Nokki Saralu, Anthony Tenorio, Byron Kaipat, Pat Alepuyo, and Tyrone Omar; the BSI Aces’ Juan, Lamarc, and Mike Iguel, Mike Muna Jr., John Tudela, Verlance Secharmidal, and John Jones Jr; Titanium’s Joe Palacios and Brian Camacho, the Falcons’ Giovanni Mira and Frankie Lieto, the Yankees’ Peter Lieto and Peter Tomokane, and the Chalan Kanoa Bears’ A.J., Henry Jr., Jose, and Jeffrey Lizama. Henry Lizama, also of the Bears, manages the Commonwealth selection, which will have Manny Sablan of the Brewers and the BSI Aces’ Luis Iguel as coaches and the Yankees’ Franco Flores as trainer.
Joining the CNMI and Kosrae in today’s kickoff are Guam, Palau, and the CNMI Junior National Team, which is made up of players from the Big League All-Stars. The Commonwealth’s junior crew, however, will only play in the preliminary and their record will not be counted in the standings, as the playoff round is exclusive for the four participating countries. The CNMI Big League All-Stars are allowed to play in the MBC as they will not be able to represent the Commonwealth to the 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Championships in China next month due to visa problems.
The CNMI Junior Nationals will have their first game tomorrow against Kosrae at 2pm, while in the second match at 6:30pm, Guam will collide against Palau. Then this Sunday, the double-header will have the CNMI taking on Guam at 2pm and Palau meeting the CNMI Junior Nationals at 6:3pm.
The preliminary games will continue until Wednesday with the Top 2 teams after the two-round robin contest battling for the first finals berth under the page system playoff format. The loser in the No. 1 vs No. 2 tiff will have another chance to make it to the finals by facing the winner in the No. 3 vs No. 4 knockout game. The finals will be played next Friday at 6:30pm.