Team CNMI men’s 3×3 team won one of its first three assignments, while sprinter Zarinae Sapong almost matched her personal best time as basketball and athletics competitions in the 10th Pacific Mini Games kicked off yesterday in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Preston Basa scored 8 points in the CNMI’s 20-16 loss to Fiji in their first game, which could have gone to the Commonwealth players’ way had they not missed crucial shots in the homestretch.
Team manager Elias Rangamar said their game against Fiji got the crowd up on their feet as they gave their opponents some anxious moments before losing steam in the end.
“Our boys also kind of gassed out a bit. Maybe a bit of jetlag, but there’s no excuse because we had our chances,” Rangamar told Saipan Tribune.
After the tough loss to Fiji, Team CNMI played more relaxed in completing a 20-13 decision over American Samoa. Douglas Schmidt stood out in the victory after collecting 9 points, while Basa added 8. Basa and company then closed out Day 1 of the round-robin play with an 18-7 setback against a tall Papua New Guinea side.
“I think their adrenaline was running high in their game against American Samoa. Against PNG, the boys could not hit their mark and kept missing their shots. PNG’s height bothered them,” said Rangamar.
The CNMI players will continue to see action in the 3×3 tournament as they go up against Nauru, hosts Vanuatu, and Samoa today before ending their campaign against the Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands tomorrow.
In other results, Samoa crushed Nauru, 20-6; PNG defeated the Cook Islands, 10-7; the Solomon Islands nipped American Samoa, 12-11; Samoa drubbed host Vanuatu 21-12; the Cook Islands beat American Samoa, 12-7; the Solomon Islands drubbed Nauru, 18-11; the Solomon Islands downed Vanuatu, 12-4; the Cook Islands pummeled Nauru, 18-7; and PNG edged Fiji, 7-5.
In athletics over at the Korman track and field stadium, Sapong finished fourth in her qualifying heat in the 100m run to advance to the semifinals. The CNMI runner’s time was not listed on the initial results posted by the Oceania Athletics Association. Sapong then missed a slot in the gold medal race, as her 13.31 seconds was good enough for 11th place. Only the Top 8 moved into the finals.
Sapong was 0.02 milliseconds short of the personal best time (13.29 seconds) she established in the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London, United Kingdom.
Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil was the top qualifier with a time of 11.96 seconds, followed by the 12.03 of the Cook Islands’ Patricia Taea and the 12.18 of Afure Adah, who is another PNG bet. Fiji’s Makereta Naulu of Fiji (12.40), Nancy Malamut of PNG (12.48), Roslyn Nalin of host Vanuatu (12.54), Elenoa Sailosi of Fiji (12.56), and Vanuatu’s Christelle Kalopong (12.67) were the other finals qualifiers.
Beo Ngirchongor was also not lucky in the men’s 100m run as he finished at No. 11 after recording 12.47 seconds in the final heat topped by Samoa’s Kelvin Masoe (10.84). Wesley Logorava, also of Samoa, placed second in the heat and made it to the next round after submitting 10.86 seconds.
Kolinio Radrudru (Fiji 10.94), Aaron Powell (Fiji 11.04), Brandy Mento (Vanuatu 11.04), Jonah Harris (Nauru 11.12), Nazmie-lee Marai (PNG 11.16), Steeve Lolten (Vanuatu 11.16), Markly Simeon (Vanuatu 11.19), David Alexandrine (New Caledonia 11.21), Tony Lemeki (Fiji 11.32), Shupeng Ah Vui (Samoa 11.36), Kupun Wisil (PNG 11.40), Joshua Jeremiah (Nauru 11.48), Dysard Dageago (Nauru 11.61), and Dylan Michel Villaz (NC 11.68) were the other finalists.