By Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz, 154th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 30, 2014
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii -- The Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) intramural volleyball team was crowned champions of the 2014 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Intramural Volleyball league. The team took 1st place honors after defeating a team from the 324th Intelligence Squadron (IS) in the championship game played at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center on September 26, 2014.
The team comprised of men and women from various shops throughout the HIANG finished the season 13-0 and brought home the Hawaii Air National Guard's twelfth championship.
Asked what makes intramural volleyball so special, HIANG volleyball team member, Col. Stephen Su'a-Filo remarked, "It's the players. I see them as I walk around the various working locations, executing their duties in uniform....I get to know another side of them; the team captain, the coach, the motivator, the lines man, the team mom, the team clown, the supporter, the friend, the Hanai son/daughter."
Two teams with Hawaii Air National Guard personnel were able to make the playoffs this year; a squad from the 154th and 15th Maintenance Groups had a successful season as well, losing to the 324th IS in the semi-finals. The 154th and 15th MXG operates as a Total Force Integration or TFI unit: TFI is an Air Force initiative aiming to integrate active duty, guard, and reserve components into one cohesive group. The team from the maintenance group took the TFI concept to the courts, proving the initiative can be successful at both work and play.
"This season was special because we started out as individual players, both active duty and the HIANG and by season's end developed into a team." said MXG team member, Lt. Col. Marc Gonsalves.
"Playing alongside our active duty brethren in a recreational and informal setting helps to create stronger ties that naturally carries over into our day-to-day professional duties."
The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Intramural Volleyball league runs annually from June thru September with teams representing different groups and/or units from around the base. There was no lack of talent, effort, and enthusiasm. In the end though, it was all about comradery, and above all, fun.
"Whether you were a seasoned volleyball player, a brand-new rookie, or an enthusiast for the game, there was always a positive attitude and encouraging words for each other, no matter if we were winning or losing." said Gonsalves.
"In the toughest situations, esprit de corps never wavered...we just steadily improved to the point of various individuals coming together as a team. This is what I'm most impressed about our team."
For Su'a-Filo, a long-time HIANG volleyball team member, he ends his volleyball playing days on high note.
"With retirement on the horizon after 30 years of service and many seasons of volleyball, when I think back to my volleyball days, I will always remember this team and the friendships that were shared."
The HIANG team was comprised of Stephen Suafilo, Rick Cox, Jamie Thompson, Adrian Remington, Marvin Yamada, Alika Kaahanui, Stephen Lorenzo, Kai Warner, Sean Lum, Mary Claire Bolo, Rena Sunaoka, Russell Campos, and Onosai Tolomu.
The MXG team was comprised of Elijah Tiqui, Kevin Logan, Salvador Baltazar, Everett Bettencourt, Derrick Mance, Richard Costa, John Johnson, Rafael Delasierra, Daniel Hiyama, Kit Kanoa, Brian Kealoha, Opeta Obrien, Aaron Oda, Lance Sithammalat, Michael Steinbrecher, Tyra Tandal, Ronald Saqui, and Marc Gonsalves.