For Angel Roligat, compartmentalizing things worked wonders during the championship game of the 2021-2022 IT&E Interscholastic Girls High School Basketball Championships.
By her own admission, the 5’5” center from Oleai played so-so in the first half for Marianas High School, but turned it all up in the second half against Tinian to lead the Lady Dolphins to a 27-21 win.
“I definitely missed a lot of easy shots in the first half but thanks to coach Preston [Basa] and coach Gabi [Race] for calming me down and constantly giving me advice on the sidelines it pushed me to do better in second half to defend our title.”
Roligat helping MHS complete a three-peat was probably the farthest thing from her mind when she first played the sport.
“I first picked up a basketball in elementary but never had the passion until a friend (current MHS forward Kina Rangamar) recruited me to Ol’Aces in junior high. I’d say my first influence in basketball was my brother (Oldie). My favorite team is and always will be the Golden State Warriors and my favorite player is Steph Curry. The first NBA game I ever watched was the Golden State Warriors and just watching how much chemistry and organized a team can be was very inspiring especially at a young age,” she said.
Not by all means a complete player, Roligat said she still needs a lot to learn to become the best version of herself on the basketball court.
“The strongest part of my game would definitely have to be my aggressiveness and eagerness to win. The thing that could use some improvement would be my dribbling and vision in the court, being able to see and read my teammates and the defense.”
The 17-year-old daughter of Peter and Loreen Roligat also wants to pursue basketball post high school. “College basketball is an option I’m open to and currently discussing with my NMI coaches.”
Lady Dolphins head coach Dan Wollack said Roligat’s persistence encapsulated the whole attitude of the team in their win against Tinian in the finals.
“What the coaches like most about not only Angel’s play but the team’s play is they really stepped up their effort and intensity level when they fell behind early and the game could have easily gotten out of hand. Shots weren’t dropping early in the game and Angel and her teammates got away from our original game plan which led to some poor shot selection, bad passes that led to turnovers, and bad drives to the basket in traffic.”
Good thing Wollack and his fellow coaches had the wherewithal to regroup and change tactics to slow down the high-powered Tinian squad.
“We called a timeout and decided to start pressing Tinian and our leaders, Angel (Roligat), Kina (Rangamar) and Paulynn (Joyce), encouraged the team to bring up their intensity level on the defensive side of the ball. Once we started getting consistent stops on defense the offense came together and Angel was able to start scoring her usual baskets at the rim. Her teammates did an incredible job of setting her up and putting her in good situations to get her into those scoring positions,” he said.
Wollack said while Roligat was an integral part of MHS winning the girls tiara, he couldn’t overemphasize that basketball is still a true team sport.
“The coaches were proud of how the whole team performed, especially down the stretch. We had a lot of players really contribute in ways that don’t show up on the stats sheet but were just as important in the teams’ success.”
Nonetheless, the MHS girls head coach still tipped his hat to Roligat for pushing hard after the breaks didn’t go her way in the first half.
“Angel played her best basketball at the end of the game to help put the game away. I think what prepares her to succeed under pressure is the fact that she is a four-sport athlete (basketball, track and field, soccer, and volleyball). Being a multi-sport athlete gives you a competitive advantage because you truly learn how to compete and handle different situations and scenarios when things aren’t always going well. Also, a lot of the skills you learn in one sport really transfer over well to other sports. Also, Angel spends a lot of time competing with the boys. That competition allows her to play the game with extra confidence, intensity, and swagger. We are so proud of the whole MHS Lady Dolphins basketball team and their devotion throughout the whole season. Every single player in one way or another helped bring back the