The elite CNMI Sports Hall of Fame family welcome four new members during the 2015 NMSA Annual Sports Banquet held last Saturday at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Respected basketball coach Frank “Sonny” Flores, baseball’s Tony C. Camacho, fast-pitch softball’s Max Pangelinan, and athletics’ Emy Quitugua made up the class of 2015 Hall of Famers as their contribution to CNMI sports were recognized in front of their former teammates, coaches, officials, and the island’s young athletes.
Flores called the shots for the CNMI’s various local and national basketball teams for nearly three decades and he also played for Mt. Carmel School. His first coaching job was at the Marianas High School in 1983, while he started holding the same post for the CNMI Men’s National Team in 1986 with his stint with the squad lasting for 14 years. He is best remembered for helping the CNMI win its only medal (silver) in the men’s basketball during the 1994 Micronesian Games in Guam.
Flores received his Hall of Fame trophy from fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Race during the awards presentation and was joined by his wife Annie in the ceremony.
“I owe half of this award to my wife, who was very understanding and supportive while I was busy coaching. I spent a lot of time away from home coaching teams and she did not complain,” he said.
“For coaches, try to teach and strengthen your players’ basic fundamentals. Don’t be fancy or help them make those NBA-like moves. If you help your players master the basics, you are doing the right thing,” the veteran coach added when asked for advice to upcoming coaches.
As for Camacho, who flew in from Oregon, to personally receive his award, following your coaches’ instruction and dedication to practice are needed to become a good baseball player.
Camacho played in Saipan Baseball League (formerly Saipan Major League) for 18 years and collected numerous individual awards, including Rookie of the Year, MVP, Coach of the Year, and Golden Glove. He also owned career records in hits, RBIs, and home runs.
“It’s an honor to stand in front of my mentors in baseball and join them in the CNMI Sports Hall of Fame,” Camacho said.
Meanwhile, Northern Marianas Athletics’ Elias Rangamar received Quitigua’s award, as the latter was off-island, while Millerie Pangelinan got the trophy for her deceased husband.
“We are very thankful for this great honor. My family is very happy because even though my husband is dead, the CNMI sports community still recognized his contribution to softball,” Millerie said.