V-ball team counts on speed, chemistry

John Nekaifes, seen here bumping the ball during a tournament at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium last year, is suiting up for the CNMI Men’s National Team that will compete in the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap this month. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI Men’s National Volleyball Team will lean on speed and chemistry when they compete in the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap.

“We have a young team with majority of our players in the 17 to 26 age group, so we will definitely have speed and stamina. These players have been practicing together since April and they have also been playing with or against each other in the past two years so they know how capable their teammates are,” said coach Shawn Davis in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.

The squad is made up of Ryan Camacho, Mychal Omar, Alfredo Guevarra, Jr., Jerrett Rosario, Danilo Borlain, Nakashima “Billy” Nakashima, Don Marshall Cabrera, John Neikaifes, John Michael Costales, Logan Mister, Nick Gross, Tahj Salas, and Eric Kiser. They were selected from the pool of 21 athletes who joined the tryouts coordinated by Saipan Volleyball Club through the sanction of the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association.

“The team has good communication skills and camaraderie so hopefully that will produce possible results for us,” added Davis, admitting that they don’t know what to expect in the tournament, as it’s been a while since the CNMI last competed in indoor volleyball and reports (about their opponents) are hard to find.

The Commonwealth last fielded a men’s volleyball team in 2006 when Saipan hosted the quadrennial event.

“Though we don’t know much about your opponents, for sure Guam will be the strongest team in the field. You can also count Yap as a favorite since they are the home team. We will just see what the other teams will give us and respond base on the game situation,” said Davis, who will join the team’s last training session this Saturday before they head to Yap on July 17 in time for the opening of the volleyball competition on July 19.

Besides Guam and Yap, the CNMI will also face Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Palau. Kiribati and Nauru had initially committed to compete in the men’s indoor volleyball, but pulled out a few days before the Micro Games kicks offs.

Meanwhile, the CNMI baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, athletics, men’s and women’s canoe, and weightlifting squads will be the second batch of athletes and officials leaving Saipan for Yap. The group will be reunited with the three-person spearfishing team in time for Sunday’s opening ceremonies, while the swimming team (ocean swim) will join the volleyball group for the Tuesday flight to Yap.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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