Cuki returns to Asian Open BJJ


The Trench Tech athletes and officials participating in the 2019 Asian International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Japan next month pose for a photo after a training session at the group’s training facility in Garapan. (Contributed Photo)

Black belt and Trench Tech co-founder Cuki Alvarez will lead four returnees to the Asian International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Jiu-Jitsu Championships that will be held in Japan next month.

Alvarez, who won a silver medal in his debut in the most prestigious BJJ tournament in the region last year in Tokyo, will be competing in the men’s Masters 4, featherweight class of the 2019 edition of the annual event that will take place in Asakusa from Sept. 13 to 15.

Also seeing action in the gathering of the best BJJ athletes around the world for the second straight time are Paulo Sangalang, Shane Alvarez, and Vince Masga. Rounding of the Trench Tech delegation are athletes Mark Nuique and Lo Itibus, team manager Mari Alvarez, coaching staff Ken Tanzawa, and training partner Jeff Garcia.

Sangalang dropped his opener last season and is hoping to have a better performance when he joins the men’s Blue Belt lightweight division. Shane triumphed in his first round-round match in 2018, but lost in the second so he will try to redeem himself in the featherweight class, men’s purple belt next month. Masga had the same fate as Shane and will go for a better finish time in the men’s purple belt.

Nuique and the lone female competitor on the team, Itibus, will have their debuts in the Asian Open and will participate in the men’s Masters 1 blue belt lightweight and women’s white belt light featherweight classes, respectively.

“We medalled last year and took home one bronze and one silver. With the experience gained from last year and with the awesome training we’ve indulged ourselves the past 10 months, we are looking forward to bettering our results,” said Cuki.

The Trench Tech head prevailed in his first two matches in the brown belt Masters 4 category of last year’s Asian Open to set up a finals showdown against X-Treme Jiu-Jitsu Academy’ Masahiko Kogo. The Japanese eventually won on points.

Kier Agda was the other medalist for Team Trench Tech, as he finished third in the white belt medium/heavy class after taking down his first opponent.

This year’s Trench Tech delegation to the Asian Open is supported by the Marianas Visitors Authority, Saipan Apparel, Saipan Skydive, Black Wood Saipan, FISG, Saipan Crew Boats, IT&E, Capt. John H.B. Salas, and lawyer Jose Mafnas Jr.

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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