Behind Jerome Manzon and John Justo, Team San Jose took home the title of the 2022 Micronesian Roccball Championship at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
In the best-of-three affair against Nakama, San Jose won first same, 63-29. The second game, however, saw undefeated team San Jose drop its first set of the season when it yielded the opener, 15-11, to a rallying Nakama team. The latter, however, couldn’t sustain its push and San Jose ultimately locked up the title and the undefeated season with a 60-45 victory in the second set.
Manzon shone the brightest in the finals and was the heavy hitter with 13 two-point aces and five three-point goals. Not far behind is his teammate Justo who scored 12 two-point aces.
Aside from Manzon and Justo, also making up San Jose are Jasper Perez, Fatima Monterubio, Madelleen Narriso, Dylan Mister, Jurvel Magtala, and Rizza Relucio.
Manzon, who is also an up-and-coming volleyball player in local leagues, said winning a championship in the CNMI’s indigenous sport of Roccball is special and something he won’t easily forget.
“It feels great to have another championship under my career. It has been a great season, learning many things, discovering techniques, and playing other sports. I dedicate this victory to my senior best friends who are graduating this May. It might be our first and last Roccball championship as a whole, but it certainly is one for the books,” he said.
Justo, for his part, thanked Roccball founder and MHS physical education teacher James Feger for teaching them the sport and continuing the legacy of the sport.
“We want to dedicate our victory to the original San Jose team and Mr. Feger, who we appreciate greatly. Secondly, we are grateful for the win, experiencing a new sport, and competing against our peers at MHS. Lastly, we hope that Roccball will continue to grow in popularity on Saipan and worldwide,” he said.
Feger, for his part, congratulated San Jose and Nakama for a well-played finals game in the 2022 Micronesian Roccball Championship.
“We played this season’s games as two losses and teams were eliminated. The last two teams without two losses went into the finals. Team San Jose was undefeated. Team Nakama only lost one game in the regular season and that was to Team San Jose. One noteworthy player for Nakama was Zahan Hossain. He won the heavy hitter title three times this year and won three different Rocball shirts as prizes,” he said.
Joining Hossain in Team Nakama are Raiki Tababa, Seth Tababa, Sherry Zhu, Zahan Hossain, Ian Lubao, and William Arriola.
The finals between Team San Jose and Team Nakama was played in two installments in March and April as Feger explains:
“It was held in the last week of March and the first week of April. It took two days to finish one game of four sets during lunchtime. And, we were only playing two days a week for the games. The gym is scheduled for lunchtime activity for basketball and volleyball for the other days of the week,” he said.
Feger said Roccball is a sport that is known as a revolution on collocated courts. Formerly identified as Rocball, Saipan’s own sport, it’s the first sport to include 3-point scoring, unrestricted hitting/kicking, and rally point scoring before the team net sports of basketball and volleyball adopted these creative forms of competition in the late 1980s and mid-1990s.