Melvin Deocares works on his weaknesses

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MELVIN Deocares is back on island to visit his family amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but the lockdown has not stopped him from working on his weaknesses as a basketball player.

The 22-year-old participated in recreational basketball leagues throughout his time in Federal Way, Washington where he now resides. “Playing there was a bit different in terms of skill level and the height of the other players who are also more developed and advanced,” he said. 

Melvin Deocares poses for a photo during a conditioning session at the Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park. Photo provided by Melvin Deocares

Deocares said he had to adapt to a higher level of competition. “Despite my disadvantage in size, the competition has helped me develop my game and to work around my weaknesses,” he said, adding that his shooting and ball-handling skills have improved. 

He believes that Saipan has many skilled players with great potential. “With the right support and better training facilities, we could be so much better. We could reach the level of competition in the states.”

Growing up on island, Deocares was mentored by coach Joe Diaz of the NMI Rollers Basketball Association. He later joined local leagues with his father, Marvin Deocares. “We have limited equipment and gym access on Saipan,” Melvin said. “We don’t have what athletes in the states have, but I still appreciate the journey I went through because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the hardship.”

MJD Corporation's Melvin Deocares, left, soars in transition against an Armatech defender during a Civic Center Basketball League game. Photo provided by Melvin Deocares

Melvin said he will continue to train every day.  “I will continue focusing on my weaknesses and I’m trying to be consistent with my workout routines and healthy diet. I have to try my best to stay healthy as we all fight the spread of Covid-19.”

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