The CNMI settled for the silver medal in beach volleyball competition of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 after Logan Mister and Andrew Johnson lost a heartbreaking third-setter against Vanuatu Friday night at the Crowne Plaza sand courts.
Mister and Johnson, who went undefeated in pool play and in the playoffs, nipped Chillia James and Banga Stivano in the first set, 21-19.
The Vanuatu pair, however, returned with the vengeance in the second set and blitzed the CNMI pair, 21-10, to force a third and deciding set.
Mister and Johnson played James and Stivano almost to a standstill in the rubber but Vanuatu had experience on their side and ultimately pulled off the victory and grabbed the gold medal, 15-13.
“Vanuatu was very tough to play in the finals. Not only were they undefeated, but I believe they didn’t lose a single set throughout the duration of the Mini Games (aside from the first set against us in the finals). Both players in the Vanuatu team have many strengths that they were able to utilize them against us,” said Johnson.
He added that the game was a battle and is thankful for all the support of the home crowd.
“We felt good. I feel great. We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work for this and it’s nice to see how far we’ve gotten. Thankful for everyone who gave us support,” added Johnson.
For Mister, the silver medal in the Games is just start of bigger things to come.
“Definitely got the fire going. I just wanna keep training and get better for the next one. I’m just really happy to get a silver and bring home something. I’m going to continue training because we are getting better and hopefully we get gold in the future.”
For the gold-medal winning team, it was just pure happiness for winning in the finals.
“I feel so happy. I feel so proud because my family, my community, my province, and my country they support me and I feel so happy,” said Stivano.
“I feel so proud and happy because this is my first time getting gold,” added James.
The CNMI’s Janelle Pangilinan and Jenine Savellano gave the CNMI a bronze medal in the badminton event after beating Tahiti’s Hortensia Manzanal and Waianuhea Teheura, 21-12 21-9, in women’s doubles last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Pangilinan said she’s proud of the bronze and until now the final point of the match against Tahiti is still replaying in her head.
“When making that last point, I was the one serving and was going on through my mind was just one more point and you will get that medal. I am dedicating this medal to my team. I could not have done it without them,” she said.
National badminton coach James Digno said he’s just overjoyed that his young team was able to medal in the Games “Very proud of them. Despite the pressure of going up against the top seed team they still pulled through giving NMI their only medal for badminton.” (Angel Li)