Charg­ers Will Rely On Old Play­ers In New Con­fer­ence

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page -

One in a se­ries of prep bas­ket­ball pre­views. sched­ule awaits this win­ter.

The good news is that vet­eran head coach Lionel Vil­larmia thinks he has the right group to make the leap.

“We’ve al­ways had ath­letes here at Pearl City, but hope­fully we’re a lit­tle more bas­ket­ball savvy,” he said. “I’d like to think we have more bas­ket­ball ex­pe­ri­ence this year. I like our chances. I think we’ll have a good bench this year.”

Pearl City went 5-6 last year in the OIA White and in­her­its the bulk of a JV that won its di­vi­sion. Early on, how­ever, the Charg­ers will lean heav­ily on se­nior post player Josiah DeMello and point guard Nick Vil­larmia, the coach’s son. Both are thirdyear var­sity play­ers who cracked the start­ing lineup mid­way through their sopho­more sea­sons.

“ Their foot­ball sea­son ended a lit­tle ear­lier than they would have liked, but they came (to bas­ket­ball con­di­tion­ing) the very next day ready to go,” Vil­larmia said of his se­niors. “I was real happy about that. They have to be lead­ers this year.”

DeMello packs 220 pounds into a 6-foot-1 inch frame and was a stand­out two-way tackle on the foot­ball team.

“ He’s a brute in­side,” Vil­larmia said. “He plays hard. If we can keep him out of foul trou­ble, we’ll be OK.”

Nick Vil­larmia was the team’s start­ing point guard last sea­son but will see some time at the off-guard spot, if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, as the Charg­ers hope to use his scor­ing skills more.

“Hope­fully a kid from the JV team will step up to take the pres­sure off of him (of­fen­sively). We’d like him to score more this year since we lost (John­son) Chao.

“Hope­fully, we can get Nick into dou­ble dig­its. He’s our best ball han­dler right now. De­fen­sively, he’ll guard the other team’s best guard.”

Ju­nior guard Kailin Sa­bate is a strong can­di­date to be Vil­larmia’s back court mate, ac­cord­ing to the coach. “He plays hard, and he has a very quick first step — he likes to go to the hole,” Vil­larmia said. “He’s also a good on-the-ball de­fender.”

In the post, Vil­larmia also is pro­ject­ing big things for ju­nior Kainoa Perez, who adds more size to the front line at 6-1. Ju­nior Paul Perry also re­turns af­ter log­ging valu­able min­utes as a sopho­more.

“We re­ally like his devel­op­ment from his fresh­man year to now,” Vil­larmia said. “He didn’t run well then, but last year he held his own. He didn’t play foot­ball this year to con­cen­trate on bas­ket­ball.

“Paul is an­other brute in­side like Josiah,” he added of Perry. “He’s go­ing to be our garbage man this year. He had a pretty good sum­mer. Hope­fully, this year he can take the load off of Josiah on the de­fen­sive end.”

Pearl City’s pub­lic un­veil­ing is set for Fri­day night when the Charg­ers host Waipahu. The pre­sea­son slate also in­cludes a trip to Roo­sevelt Nov. 23 as well as games with Mary­knoll and Academy of the Pa­cific as part of the Pearl City pre­sea­son tour­na­ment Nov. 26 and 27.

The Charg­ers’ OIA Red West opener is set for Dec. 7 at Mililani.

Con­tact Jack Danilewicz at jack­ster.1969@ya­

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