Pacific athletes of the week
Zama American, Japan
Last week: Averaged 24.5 points as the Trojans swept a pair of Japan Basketball League contests against E.J. King at Sasebo Naval Base, improving to 7-0, Zama’s best start under coach Tom Allensworth since beginning the 1993-94 campaign.
Badillo, a senior, scored 26 points, including five three-pointers, as the Trojans opened the weekend by downing the Cobras 64-53 on Friday. The next morning, Badillo scored 23 and the Trojans pulled away in the final quarter to defeat the Cobras 74-66.
“Berto is a great young man,” Allensworth said.
“He is coachable and he’s turned into a real team leader. He also brings a certain fire to every game. His excitement and desire spills over to the rest of the kids and makes my job of getting them ready to play that much easier.”
E.J. King, Japan
Last week: Played a key role in the Cobras’ sweep of a two-game DODDS-Japan series against Class AA Zama American on Friday and Saturday at Sasebo Naval Base. The Cobras (10-0) are off to their best start in coach Bridget Vertin’s three years at the helm.
It wasn’t the freshman’s offense, but her defense that helped the Cobras hold the Trojans to 61 points. E.J. King won 49-32 on Friday and 50-29 on Saturday.
The addition of Suriben “is immeasurable” for the Cobras, Vertin said. “She is a competitor and pushes her sister and all the other players on the team to be better defenders. She is quick, covers the court extremely well for a young player.”
Suriben is the younger sister of two-time All-Far East Class A guard Kristia Suriben but “she is definitely not playing in her sister’s shadow,” Vertin said. “She is making a name for herself in her own right.”
— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff