Shane Deleon Guerrero gets ready for new basketball season

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SHANE Deleon Guerrero, one of the islands’ top basketball players, is undergoing training for the new season of the Marianas International Basketball League which will be held at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Shane Deleon Guerrero extends for the contested shot during a game of the 2018 Men’s/Women’s Islandwide League at the Gilbert C. Ada Gym.  Photo by James F. Sablan Jr.

He said he is focused on his craft as tries to get into top shape for the MIBL. “Our team [in the previous season, MS Villagomez] came up short in the playoffs, but it was also our first time playing together. We will most definitely come back stronger and more determined to win,” Deleon Guerrero said in an interview with Variety.

In March 2018, Shane played in the March Madness basketball tournament at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. “That was a whole different competitive ball game,” he said. “You’re playing against guys that are like 6’6 and faster than you. Coming from an island where we don’t have much height, it was a challenge, but it was also a great experience. It also motivated me to perfect my craft and learn how to score on these taller players.”

Growing up, Shane was never fond of basketball, and his main focus was baseball. But through the influence of his uncle, Ed Diaz, his perspective changed. “He was a former national player for the CNMI and my favorite basketball player of all time,” Shane said, referring to Diaz. “He was an exciting player to watch and a very humble person. An all-around player just like Michael Jordan and also an all-around cool uncle.”

At the age of 10, Shane began his quest to become a basketball player. “I started playing basketball while also playing baseball. Baseball was my first sport but the transition from baseball to basketball was easy because we were taught a lot of hand-eye coordination along with speed and agility drills. As long as you put in the effort and time into a new sport you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.”

He believes that the skills he learned in baseball gave him an advantage as a basketball player.

But it was his uncle, Ed Diaz, who made a huge impact on Shane’s transition. “I had a bit of a struggle learning how to dribble and lay up with my left hand. But overall it was a smooth transition because I always watched my uncle play.”

Shane said his uncle taught him various moves. “I would say my favorite go-to move on the fastbreak is my behind-the-back finish. I would fake like I’m going to lay up on the right then bring the ball behind my back to the left and finish with my left.”

Shane has already won multiple awards as a basketball player. “I have a couple of MVPs, best forward and best guard trophies from the Gualo Rai league back in 2013 - 2015. A couple more individual trophies from some other leagues and I had some championship trophies in other leagues as well.”

With the experience he has gained through the years and with a great mindset, he is expected to gain more awards and trophies in the near future.

Asked if he has any long-term goals for the sport, he said: “I don’t have any serious long-term goals but I do want to play in the next Micro Games and try to bring home the basketball gold if possible.”

Shane said he has picked up skills from basketball that are applicable to everyday life. These include the value of teamwork, patience, hard work, determination, never giving up, respect and lots more, he said, adding: “basketball is more than just a sport.”

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