A team made up mostly of Rollers alumni took part in the 2022 Arizona Asia-Pacific Islanders Men’s Basketball Tournament in Chandler, Arizona.
The team, simply named Rollers, was made up of brothers Prince and Angelo Factor, June Alipio, William Camacho, Markel Toves, Jun Fidelino, Derrick Atalig, Allan Okaya, Manny Matagolai, John Capuyon, and James Kintz.
Rollers started things off with a 36-16 win over EBK as Prince Factor and Matagolai poured in 14 points apiece.
They then made it two straight after nipping Palau’s P4L, 39-35, with Factor again leading the charge with 16 markers and Alipio adding 14 points.
Rollers stumbled in its third game against Pacific Rim as they lost 49-61 with Alipio and Factor firing 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Despite the loss, the Rollers finished pool play with a 2-1 win-loss record and secured the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
Rollers steamrolled past No. 4 seed WAQAB in the quarterfinals, 62-47, with Alipio scoring 11 points.
The team, however, bowed to eventual runner-up Typhoon in the semifinals, 33-35, with Factor leading their losing cause with 8 points.
Typhoons would eventually bow to P4L, 38-53, in the championship game of the API basketball tourney.
Despite missing out on the championship, two Rollers players made it to the All Tournament First Team as Factor and Alipio joined Typhoon’s SamDee Samson Setik, PHX- RMI’s Byron N. Ezelda Thomas, and P4L’s Nick Borja on the selection.
Rollers founder Joe Diaz said he couldn’t be more proud of his former wards.
“I’m just proud of our boys out there. These boys grew up from being young kids to young adults. Now they’re living out there and attending school and working. There’s a lot of them out there in Las Vegas and Arizona and pretty much some of them flew in just to be part of the tournament representing Rollers.”
Diaz said it just blows his mind that former Rollers players are still representing their old club in the U.S. mainland.
“They really stood up for it (Rollers). It’s amazing to see our boys forming and taking ownership of the club out there. They played for Rollers and they’ve been Rollers since they were young kids. I’m just very proud of them that even though they’re busy with school and work they still formed a team and reached the semifinals repping the Rollers.”
Sammy Setik, who is one of the organizers of the 2022 Arizona Asia-Pacific Islanders Men’s Basketball Tournament, said seeing Rollers take part in the competition was like deja vu.
“I was really excited for the Rollers when they came out. Everytime I see our own people it just reminds me of home. I’ve known Prince since he was a young boy as I played for the Guam junior nationals. It was a good thing they came out and took part in our tournament.”
Setik said he formed the Asia-Pacific Islanders Men’s Basketball Tournament way back in 2016 when he first came to the U.S. mainland.
“My vision was to put everyone [from the islands] together and not forget where we came from and share the culture and share the game we love. We come from different islands and races but we share one thing and that’s one ocean together.”