Taiwan to take on Guam for FIBA Asia Cup berth
Taiwan stunned by Guam in Asia Cup qualifier
Team Guam eyes Chinese Taipei, spot at FIBA Asia Cup
Coming off its two biggest wins over Hong Kong in June in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Team Guam is ready to play host to Chinese Taipei for some international basketball at the University of Guam Calvo Field House tomorrow and Saturday, Aug. 28. The recent executive order from Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero limiting social gatherings and requiring vaccination cards has led to the cancellation of fan attendance at this week’s games.
“These are difficult times, and the governor made a difficult decision to add restrictions and limitations for events like this to promote a safe return to sports. We know our fans are out there sending love and support for Team Guam, and we will do our best for them,” head coach E.J. Calvo said in a press release from GBC.
Both games will be livestreamed at www.livebasketball.tv.
Ready for Taipei
The 12-man Bank of Guam Men’s Basketball Team roster has been eager to hit the court against Taipei since grabbing the two big wins over Hong Kong in a pair of must-win games. Against Taipei, it’s an eight-quarter battle with the cumulative score between the games deciding who advances. That means every quarter is important!
“We’re going through protocols right now, but we’re ready to work with what we’ve got. We’ve worked hard and prepared well for this so we just want to go out there, represent the island and win at home and put on a good show,” said point guard Daren Hechanova.
The team was preparing to host a rabid, basketball-hungry Guam crowd, but the recent executive order will null any home-crowd involvement in the two games. Guam’s latest wins came in an arena with no fans, but the goal hasn’t changed, regardless of where the Guam hoopsters play or who they play in front of.
“Having fans there or not, we want to go out there and play our game. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing at home or away, we’re going to go out there and try to win,” said Hechanova.
After losing to New Zealand to begin the tournament, the team members have reset their focus and know what it’s going to take to achieve new feats.
“We took care of business, tightened up our game and made the adjustments, and that’s what you saw in that two-game series. One thing I promise everyone is that we always seem to get better from the first game to the last, and that’s been our motto, that we can’t be the same team from the beginning,” said men’s head coach Calvo.
Moving pieces – same goal
The Guam roster doesn’t have the luxury of training and practicing together often, with a portion of the team not living on the same island. This has never been an issue for Guam’s players in the past, as they’ve managed to form strong team chemistry whenever they’ve gotten the chance.
“We click fairly quick. Although we do have moving pieces, we know how each other moves on the court and we know our tendencies, so we’re just going to play off of that,” said forward Ben Borja.
Some members of the team are adjusting to new roles, including center Jonathan Galloway, who made his debut with Team Guam seven years ago.
“It’s a new role I have to step into. When I first joined Team Guam, I was a young guy, but now I’m at that middle age, so I definitely have to help lead them and give them as much guidance as I can. The most important thing is getting the win, but we also want to show the progress that our team has made and that I’ve made individually and I know we’ll be able to do that. I’m confident in myself and in my teammates,” said Galloway.
“I’m proud of our guys. The young bucks are stepping up and we’ve got a good mixture on the team, so we’re just trying to put it all together. But we’ll be ready for Taipei,” said Hechanova.
Guam has proven its ability to score, but the defense against Hong Kong was what the team has been addressing mostly as it prepares for Taipei.
“I think we had things to improve on against Hong Kong, mainly our defense, but after watching film and adding new pieces, I think we’re going to get our defense down pat and get it right,” said Borja.