Shammi shimmies to women’s championship

Posted on Oct 21 2021

Shammii’s Mikki Kautz attempts an off-balanced shot against BellaBalls’ Marlene Lumabi and Irish Pagarao during their finals match in the Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation 3×3 Hoop Fest last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Shammi defeated BellaBalls, 16-8, in a battle of undefeated teams in the finals of the women’s division of the NMIBF 3×3 Hoop Fest last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Shanesse Aldan and Mary Kay Alferos pumped in 8 points apiece, while Mikki Kautz and Gabrielle Race provided the muscle inside plus tough defense to lead Shammi to the Promised Land.

Like Shammi, BellaBalls also finished with a 3-0 win-loss in the elimination round only to be routed in the finals by the eventual champions. Jeraldine Castillo led BellaBalls in scoring in the loss with 6 markers, while Marlene Lumabi added 2. Irish Pagarao and A.J. Garion also suited up for the second-placed team.

Alferos said the final score of the championship game wasn’t really indicative of the struggle Shammi had to go through in beating BellaBalls in the finals.

“I’d say that despite the score at the end, it was a tough game through and through. It was tough because the team we were up against was strong. They had two veterans from the national team. It was a physical game going up against great players so of course that was a tough game,” she said.

The cat-quick point guard added that while her team did ended up with 16 points in the finals, Shammi’s trademark the entire 3×3 tournament was its hard-nosed defense.

“I would say the defense was key in all of the games. Playing good defense is where we hang our hats on. None of the teams had high scores against our team because we planned ahead who to man and transitioned quickly from offense to defense,” she said.

A total of 10 teams battled for supremacy in the Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation-organized tournament’s women’s division. Aside from champion Shammi and runner-up BellaBalls, other women’s teams that took part in the 3×3 tournament were Acers, Team Agape, Alley-Oops, That One Team, Small Giants, CrushOver, Tinian Typhoon, and Gang Gang.

In the men’s division, End Game routed Babeholics for the title. Other men’s teams that participated were the Outlaws, Roll’Aces, Tinian Typhoon, D. Cider, The Game, and Hole in the Wall.

The U18 division had six teams signing up, including champion Ol’Aces Real Deal, runner-up Chinatown Chargers, Tinian Typhoon, MadFlex, San Antonio Sixers, and the Rollers’ Undercooked Rolls.

Chinatown Chargers coach Walter Mendez thanked NMIBF for a well-run tournament.

“You guys had a great turnout and should be commended for the amazing effort and energy in organizing this event. The kids are surely motivated to continue to train and grind out for their love for my first girlfriend…,” he said.

Tinian Typhoon coach Keith Nabors seconded Mendez when he said, “Thank you all for the wonderful tourney. Until the next one!”

NMIBF president James Lee congratulated End Game, Shammi, and Ol’Aces Real Deal for taking home the 3×3 championships in their respective divisions. He also thanked all the participating teams across the men’s, women’s and U18 divisions.

“Great job coaches and congrats to all the athletes. Hope you all enjoyed the games and most importantly are motivated to continue on becoming better players and stay on with the programs of your respective clubs,” he said.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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