Jason Mandaquit was once a bleach-blond point guard who sparked Hilo to a state championship.
Today, he coaches Sons of Hawaii, a Nike MADE Hoops entry that went 2-2 in opening weekend play in Las Vegas. Sons of Hawaii went 2-2 in the first leg of the West Winter Circuit Lea8ue in Gilbert, Ariz. The competition is for players eighth grade and younger.
JJ Mandaquit of ‘Iolani paced the team with 15 points per game.
Sons of Hawaii defeated Vegas Elite White, 48-44, and Arizona Supreme-Dime Academy, 39-32. Then came losses to traditional powerhouses New York Gauchos, 49-35, and Oakland Soldiers, 54-39.
The team is a mix of players from Oahu. In addition to JJ Mandaquit, the roster includes Le’Cedric Brown (Wheeler), Jerome Lilio (Maryknoll), Nahiku Nahale-a (Kahuku), Shannon Revuelto (Saint Louis), Pupuali‘i Sepulona (Saint Louis), Dash Watanabe (Punahou) and Kaina Watson (Kamehameha).
“The first three sessions are all pool play. By record, they will seed the Top 10 in one bracket and the other 10 in the other bracket,” said Mandaquit, who is co-coach with Kihei Nahale-a.
The team is in the midst of fundraising for the next session on Jan. 30-31.
“We rented a house, and between airfare, accommodations, entry fee, uniforms and rental cars, this is costing us $25,000 for all four sessions,” Coach Mandaquit said. “Our goal for that is $15,000 and right now we’re at about $8,000. We’re headed in the right direction, but we need a little more.”
Mandaquit and the team are grateful for the help they have received.
“Luckily, a lot of our stuff came from donations and businesses, connections to our families. Shirts and hats,” he said. “Kuha‘o Zane, who just did the design for the Oregon (football) uniforms, he’s my classmate from Hilo High. He did the design and logo for our uniform. The logo has a meaning in Hawaiian culture.”
The name of the team, Mandaquit added, came with permission from Myrna Kamae, wife of the late, legendary musician, Eddie Kamae.
To help the team, visit Facebook or Instagram, or call Coach Nahale-a (808-989-1422) or Coach Mandaquit (808-937-5647).