Pikaboo, 2 others reach Asian Open semis


Members and officials of Team CNMI/Trench Tech pose for a photo before competing in the Asian Open in Japan last weekend. (Contributed Photo)

Team CNMI/Trench Tech put up a valiant fight in the 2019 Asian International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Jiu-Jitsu Championships with three of its members entering the semifinals of the competition held in Japan over the weekend.

According to BJJ instructor Cuki Alvarez, who also joined the tournament, Shane “Pikaboo” Alvarez, Vince “The Clinch” Masga, and Paulo “The Sang” Sangalang all won their first matches and made it to the semifinals.

“However, they were all submitted in their second matches and were ultimately eliminated from this single elimination format tournament,” Cuki said.

As for Lo Itibus, CNMI’s lone female representative in the event dubbed as Asian Open., and Mark “The Dark” Nuique, they both dropped their first matches.

“They did fantastic in their first matches but both lost. Mark lost by an advantage (a score less than a point) because his opponent apparently had a slightly better position. Lo tapped out via arm bar at 3 and 1/2 minutes into her match against a more experienced opponent who was a 3-striped white belt. A stripe signifies improvement and advancement and experience in overall skill set in BJJ and this girl had 3 stripes. She is basically on the verge of becoming a blue belt,” Cuki said.

The Trench Tech founder, on the other hand, was entered in the Masters 4 Black Belt division and lost his first match by a penalty. A penalty is given when the referee feels you are not trying to improve your position during a lock down or trap.

“I couldn’t escape my opponents closed guard so I was given a penalty for that,” he said.

Despite falling short in their bid for medals in the tournament, Cuki said that the experience was amazing for Team CNMI and they hope to bring what they learned during the competition to the next training camp.

“We all learned from this amazing experience and will definitely bring back what we learned to our next training camp and improve from there. We hope to inspire more athletes from our beloved CNMI to join our BJJ program and travel with us to future competitions like the Asian Open,” he said.

Alvarez and company would like to thank the following for supporting their participation to the Asian Open: IT&E, Saipan Crewboats, Office of Senator Jude Hofschneider, Marianas Visitors Authority, FISG, Skydive Saipan, Black Wood, Coach Jose Mafnas, Jr., Captain John Salas, Coach Ken Tanzawa, Saipan Apparel, and Hybrid Shop. The group also acknowledged those who supported the team’s cookie fundraiser.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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