Returnees lead women’s cage team


Annalei Santos, left, and Madi Alegre perform some passing drills in one of the practice sessions of the CNMI women’s national training pool last February at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Jon Perez)

Five returning players will be leading the CNMI’s charge in the 9th Micronesian Games set from July 15 to 27 in Yap.

Rachel Abrams, Jamie Mendoza, Irish Pagarao, Ira Palero, and Lia Rangamar are again back to don the CNMI colors in the quadrennial Games to be held for the third time in FSM. The Micro Games took place twice in Pohnpei—in Palikir in 2002 and in Kolonia in 2014. This will be Yap’s first time to host the region’s premier sporting event.

Cassandra Camacho, sisters Eilena and Annalei Santos, Alliyah Fernandez, Tazha Deleon Guerrero, Glorily Williams, and Jan Travilla are the other members of the team. The squad has a mix of shooters, slashers, and bigs with Annalei Santos, Abrams, Camacho, Deleon Guerrero, and Palero expected to patrol the shaded lane for the CNMI. Eleina Santos, Rangamar, and Williams will be tasked to orchestrate their plays, while Fernandez, Mendoza, Pagarao, and Travilla must be ready to pull the trigger from outside.

Former CNMI national team member Elias Rangamar will be coaching the group with veteran women’s player Connie Camacho, Preston Basa, and John Santos as his assistants.

Rangamar said he met with his assistant coaches last Sunday and they voted separately on who among the candidates will be included in the final roster of 12 players. His assistants were tasked to choose the seven players on island, while he picked the off-island members.

Rangamar thanked all the players that tried out and made the first cut for the time they spent in attending the practices.

“We thanked the girls that made the time and commitment in showing up to our practices and we wish them the best of luck. We based our selection on experience, athleticism, and potential. Five of the seven players selected are currently attending school in the U.S. We hope to get everybody on the island by early June,” he added.

Rangamar’s announcement on the final selection for the women’s team came a few weeks after he also picked the members of the men’s squad. Basa, Dan Barcinas, Jack Lizama, Douglas Schmidt Jr., Dean Blake, Coby Santos, Jeff Deleon Guerrero, Marvin Rabauliman, Aiferson Atan, and Geno Libuw, N-Nes Siech, and Christian Mizer, the lone off-island player on the group, made the cut. Basa, John Santos, and Keith Nabors will help Rangamar handle the men’s team.

The CNMI basketball squads will be pitted against the host, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, Guam, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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