Da Hitlist, Golden Girlies top Agape v-ball

Posted on May 18 2022

Da Hitlist and Golden Girlies players pose for a group shot with their championship trophies after topping Agape Christian Church 30th Anniversary Volleyball Tournament which finals was held at the Agape Gymnasium last weekend.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Teams made from an amalgamation of the island’s top high volleyball prospects triumphed in last weekend’s finals of the Agape Christian Church 30th Anniversary Volleyball Tournament held at the Agape Gymnasium.

In the men’s division, Da Hitlist outplayed Hallelujah in the finals, 18-25, 25-19, 15-19, to win the championship.

Da Hitlist finished No. 2 to Hallelujah in Pool A then defeated Pool B No. 3 Bravo in the quarterfinals, 25-17, 25-17. It then drew Pool B topnotcher HitHeads in, 27-25, 29-27, to advance to the finals.

Hallelujah, meanwhile, beat Pool B No. 4 Can Do in the quarters, 25-16, 29-17, before dispatching Pool B No. 2 Chelu Prim, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12, to book the finals berth against Da Hitlist. 

Da Hitlist players, from left, John Justo, Steven Hong, Jerome Manzon, and Jasper Perez share a light moment after winning the men’s division of the Agape Christian Church 30th Anniversary Volleyball Tournament. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Da Hitlist’s Jerome Manzon said it took a lot from them to win the championship, especially since most of the players on the team were just coming off high school volleyball season last week.

“All of us were tired physically but just disregarded it. We played with our hearts out. Just before the championship started, we faced off against a pretty solid team, which took us to two extended sets. We entered the championship, very exhausted especially because we had been there since the morning and the championship only started around 9pm,” he said.

Aside from Manzon, also making up the team are Jasper Perez, John Justo, Juruel Magtalas, Steven Hong, Akira Ota, Dylan Mister, and Raiki Tababa. 

“You could say that the team we have is the ‘Dream Team’ of CNMI high school, with the addition of star player Steven Hong and libero Akira Ota,” added Manzon.

Save for Hong and Ota,who are from Grace Christian Academy, the other members of Da Hitlist are from Marianas High School.

Perez, for his part, considers the championship as another blessing and a perfect high school graduation gift for him.

“There was no secret to our win, as we maximized our team’s skills and players to their full potential. Having Steven in the team made our offense a lot more powerful. I don’t really know how we sustained the run, maybe because we were still hot coming off the high school season. We dedicate this to everyone who supported us,” he said.

For the women, Goldies Girlies followed Da Hitlist’s script to the title after dropping the opening set in the finals, 22-25, they overcame Sallinareonice in the last two, 25-11, 15-17.

Goldies Girlies finished second to Sallinareonice in the eliminations with an 8-2 win-loss card. 

The team then beat Southside in the quarterfinals, 25-17-25-12, before advancing to the championship game with a 25-21, 25-15 win over GG.

Sallinareonice got a bye in the quarterfinals before making quick work of Plasma, 25-23, 25-18, in the semis, but eventually fell short in the finals against Goldies Girlies.

Goldies Girlies’ Fiona Bucalig credited familiarity and the individual skills of each player for the team going all the way.

“I couldn’t imagine playing with anyone else other than my team. Though the tournament was from last year and having no practice at all, we walked into all our games relying on our fundamentals. Each of the girls on my team are all-stars in their own right, and I knew that on the court we were going to  be able to get the chemistry we needed. Apart from last year, when the tournament initially was set, we had not practiced together at all. But once we got on the court there was a kind of instant chemistry that I think made us a hard team to beat.”

The Mt. Carmel High School volleyball player said their strategy during the tournament was to just keep switching up the hitters in every play. 

“All the girls on my team are strong and smart hitters, so we knew we didn’t have a problem sharing the ball with everyone. We wanted to keep our opponents on their toes. I knew that we were all strong servers as well, and so we used that to our advantage as well.”

Aside from Bucalig, Golden Girlies is also made up of Katriel Saures, Soleil Lamar, Hye Jin Elliott, Maury Zon Doculan, Madeleen Narciso, and Fatima Monterubio.

Tournament organizer En Yang Pang congratulated Da Hitlist and Golden Girlies for winning the championship and all the teams that took part on the weeklong tourney.

“I would like to thank all the youth who came out and played in our tournament. COVID had derailed our previous tournament, but we did not let that stop us and we came out stronger than ever. Congratulations to Golden Girlies and Da Hitlist for winning the championship and showcasing the promising up-and-coming young talent the island has to offer.”

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.