Cuki, 6 others off to Japan BJJ tourney

The seven Trench Tech warriors pose for a photo before they leave for Japan last Tuesday to compete in the Asian Open in Tokyo. (Contributed Photo)

It will be a busy weekend for the islands’ warriors, as besides Frank “The Crank” Camacho and Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez, a group of Trench Tech fighters will also be competing in an off-island tournament.

Cuki Alvarez and six others left for Japan yesterday to participate in the 2018 Asian IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship that will be held from Sept. 7 to 9 at the Tokyo Budo-Kan in Tokyo. Camacho is in Dallas, Texas to fight Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal in UFC 228 (see related story), while Roman is in China to challenge Daichi Takenaka in One Championship. Cuki is joined on the Japan trip by his son Shane, Kier “The Radical Kid” Agda, Paulo “The Sang” Sangalang, Giovanni Taitingfong, Vince “The Clinch” Masga, and Ken “Kamakazi” Tanzawa.

Shane and Masga will be competing in the purple belt 146 lbs division; Tanzawa is also in the purple belt 176 lbs; Sangalang in the blue belt 146 lbs; Taitingfong in the blue belt 141 lbs; Agda in the white belt 200 lbs; and Cuki in the brown belt Masters 3 division. Three of the original members of the Trench Tech delegation—Jeff Garcia, professor Clinton Dela Cruz, and Mark “The Dark” Nuique—missed the trip due to conflict of schedule with their work.

“Both Mark and Jeff got new jobs and professor Clinton is very busy at work as well,” the Trench Tech founder said.

Cuki and company will be gunning for medals in their respective divisions and believed they have their work cut out for them, as the three-day tournament has a very strong field, as always.

“The ultimate goal is to garner medals in our respective weight and belt divisions. However, we do know that some of the best BJJ players in the world will be competing in this event. Our main focus is to take it one match at a time and go for the wins to make it to the semifinals then of course the medal matches,” Cuki said.

“We have a good chance to do that. All in all, we will proudly represent our island nation and give it our best. The experience will definitely be the best part of the whole trip! We will either ‘win or learn’ and it will only make us better for the next tournaments,” he added.

The Trench Tech standouts’ participation in the tournament dubbed as “Asian Open” and ranked among the best in the world was made possible by the support of the following individuals and companies: Marianas Visitors Authority, Saipan Crew Boats, Inc., FISG, Mark Blackburn, Saipan Apparel, Kautz Glass, Clinton Dela Cruz, Crank Industries, Bridge Capital, LLC, Hertz Rent A Car, and Mariana P. Alvarez.

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.

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