Dandan defies odds to top women’s division

Posted on Jan 26 2023

The Dandan team of the women’s division team poses with Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation and Tan Siu Lin Foundation officials after winning the championship of the 2022 Marianas Village Pride Basketball League last Sunday night at the Gillette Multi-Purpose Center. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Dandan bucked the loss of a key player and justified its top seeding after running away with the women’s division championship of the 2022 Marianas Village Pride Basketball League last Sunday night at the Gillette Multi-Purpose Center.

The Greg Iginoef-coached squad beat Garapan, 46-33, and successfully overcame the loss to injury of point guard and national team mainstay Liamwar Rangamar. 

With Connie Camacho turning back the hands of time with 10 first-half points, Dandan opened a 24-17 lead. The rest of the team then would assist their fearless leader in both offense and defense in the second half en route to the 13-point rout. 

Camacho led all scorers with 16 points, while Antonette Labausa did most of her heavy lifting in the second half and wound up with 10 markers.

Garapan was paced by the 8 points of Quina Flores, while Dandan’s stout defense limited Marlene Lumabi to just 7 points. 

Team manager Elias Rangamar said Dandan’s veteran-laden lineup tilted the balance in their favor in the finals matchup against Garapan.

“Connie is just amazing. It actually benefited us that the rain postponed the finals as it allowed her to recover from her injuries. She’s no spring chicken anymore and her knees need more time to rest,” he said of the prized many-time national player.

Rangamar also said that Labausa, who won a couple of silver medals in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 last June, also provided a spark for the team and in general the girls moved the ball around pretty well. 

“Antonette also helped a great deal especially with her penetrating skills. Connie is more of a spot-up shooter at this stage of her career.”

It was also pretty handy that when one Rangamar was out due to an injury another Rangamar was there to fill in the slack.

“We had the veteran players as they helped us out. Kina also stepped up in crucial moments. Lia got hurt and she responded and that kinda accelerated her improvement,” said the father of the two. 

The elder Rangamar also thanked Saipan Vegas, who not only sponsored Dandan in the women’s division and the boys 18 champion Koblerville but also San Vicente and Chalan Kiya in the boys 18 and third place Oleai in the U13.

“They put up a lot of money for all our five teams and we can’t appreciate them enough,” he said.

Dandan 46 – Co. Camacho 16, Labausa 10, Ca. Camacho 6, Rangamar 6, Deleon Guerrero 4, Ramarui 4.
Garapan 33 – Flores 8, Lumabi 7, Garon 6, Alegre 4, Lopez 4, Villagomez 1.
Scoring by halves: 24-17, 46-33.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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