Saui has the X factor

Defensive lineman Siasau “Saui” Matagiese was ready for the real world.

After completing his UH eligibility this past November, he earned his bachelor’s degree a month later. He then notified UH coaches he would not be participating in last week’s pro day.

As it turned out, Matagiese was not ready to give up the Xs and Os — well, at least the X part. He signed to play for the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers of the X-League, Japan’s professional football league. He leaves Kauai at the beginning of May.

“Just thankful for the opportunity,” Matagiese wrote in a text message.

Several former Warriors have made post-UH careers in Japan. Kevin Jackson, a former UH d-end, had a lengthy and profitable career there.

* * * * *

Congrats to former UH defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu, who goes to 2-0 in his MMA career with last night’s victory.




  1. tommui March 23, 2014 8:32 am


  2. Stephen Tsai March 23, 2014 8:34 am

    Mornin’ Mr. Mui

  3. tommui March 23, 2014 8:36 am

    Top of the morning Mr. T

  4. Stephen Tsai March 23, 2014 8:45 am

    Top of the morning comes too early these days.
    Then again, at my age, I do appreciate waking up.

  5. nana March 23, 2014 8:52 am

    How was Augie T?

  6. whitey March 23, 2014 8:52 am

    good morning counselor, st, and tsaikos

  7. kev-1 March 23, 2014 9:19 am

    Not sure why one would opt out of a pro day and a chance at the NFL to go straight to Japan. Saui seemed like the type of player that would have a legitimate shot at least as a FA. But, not my life. Congrats to him.

  8. tommui March 23, 2014 9:29 am

    7 kev-1

    Might be money in hand is worth two in the bush.

    Good Morning Whitey.

    ST – wait until you reach my age – then you worry!

  9. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 9:31 am

    BYU’s leading rusher arrested for underage drinking. The Cougars are trying to open up their recruiting to non Mormons, once again, but this may derail that policy.

  10. Stephen Tsai March 23, 2014 9:40 am

    Was it a good move for Derek Tatsuno to go to Japan?

  11. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 9:45 am

    The coaches in Japan changed Tatsuno’s throwing motion, if memory serves me correctly. Coach Les went up to watch him play and knew that he wouldn’t be effective after seeing what the Japan coaches did. He was back home in a year and a half or so, which was too bad.

  12. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 9:50 am

    Two insightful books about Japan baseball are 2 by Robert Whiting:

    *Chrysanthemum and the Bat
    *You Gotta Have WA

    Both available on Amazon

  13. Hank March 23, 2014 10:31 am

    It would not surprise me if Saui had a long and prosperous career. He’s a playa!

  14. SteveM March 23, 2014 10:36 am

    Good morning everyone!

    Best of luck to “Saui” Matagiese!

    Does Japan’s pro football league have a limit on non-Japanese players on the roster, like baseball? Well, I thought there was a limit in baseball…

  15. NorthShoreFan March 23, 2014 10:38 am

    Guud Morning Tsaikos…bootiful day.

    ST…imho…the coach/coaches ruined Derek. They should have employed Ronnie too. Ronnie caught Derek so well and managed him on the mound great.

  16. SteveM March 23, 2014 10:41 am

    RE: #10

    ST — I vaguely recall that Tatsuno’s father was also given a job position in Japan as part of his signing. A family package deal… or so I recall–my memory and waking up in the morning is kinda related… 😐

  17. A-House March 23, 2014 10:49 am

    ditto that NSF!

    actually, I heard from Tatsuno’s childhood friend that he was so effective that other Japanese players were grumbling so his coaches decided to change his 3/4 style to overhand – which was a terrible mistake

    agree that it would have been a smarter move to hire Ron Nomura to only catch for Tatsuno

    I may be totally off base, but I feel that the Major League felt that Tatsuno would be so dominant that the Brewers were told to limit their offer to $100K – back then there were no oriental players – after all, look what he did to all the college All-American batters who received multi-million offers

  18. jalansky March 23, 2014 10:54 am

    I remember having a bad feeling at the time Tatsuno made his decision to go to Japan. The culture in Japan, for a Japanese-American, may have made the obstacles greater in a weird sort of way. And the contemporary beesuboru culture might have made it doubly hard. Adding to what Whiting says in his two very enjoyable and insightful books, I recall what Winston Llenas told me at the Osaka hotel breakfast counter: the Japanese practice much too hard and don’t play hard enough. Of course, Llenas was having a terrible year, which may have colored his views. Then again, based on Whiting, he might not have been too far off base. But today is a different era, and football is a totally different sport: Saui will do well! Congratulations!

  19. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 11:03 am

    Best of luck to Saui. Living and working in Japan can be a great experience.

    I remember reading about a Japanese pro pitcher who messed up his arm. His coach told him to go up to the mountains outside of Tokyo to a Buddhist temple and instructed him to sit under a cold waterfall and meditate in order to heal his arm. The player said the hell with that and flew to LA to have Tommy John surgery.

  20. Da Punchbowl Kid March 23, 2014 11:09 am

    Good Morning Gangeez! 😉

    Grats to Saui and Kaniela!

    Yep, getting up in the morning is definitely a good thing!

  21. Stephen Tsai March 23, 2014 11:14 am

    I like that Japan is an option for players who wish to continue their careers.

  22. Stephen Tsai March 23, 2014 11:17 am

    The key is to play a few years, stay healthy and make as many contacts/friends as possible. The one thing I learned from pro days is it’s OK for a player to go up and start chatting with scouts. This isn’t American Idol. You can talk to the judges. Making ties can only help.

  23. whitey March 23, 2014 11:31 am

    another bites da dirt. now the jhawk looks like a mynah.

  24. whitey March 23, 2014 11:33 am

    and the biggest shocker of all, had no voltage.

  25. whitey March 23, 2014 11:34 am

    will it be 4 for 4 on 1 today??????

  26. whitey March 23, 2014 11:35 am

    col a house, lucky you no stay vegas. 3 prong, i hope you are doing ok. it is not madness, but hysteria.

  27. whitey March 23, 2014 11:37 am

    go michelle. -1 thru 4

  28. al March 23, 2014 11:53 am

    whitey…wassup with all these korean women of the lpga? just noticed that of the current top 15 of todays final there are 8 yobos.

  29. whitey March 23, 2014 12:06 pm

    al, my take plain and simple. practice, pride, and picture.

  30. whitey March 23, 2014 12:07 pm

    of course you can add the frosting, putting.

  31. whitey March 23, 2014 12:11 pm

    and the killer for young american golfers, parents.

  32. el burro sabio March 23, 2014 12:30 pm

    IMHO the only one who can say whether it was a good move for Tatsuno to go to Japan is Derek himself. Likewise if Saui thinks his best move is to go to Japan, that’s his call. Good luck to him.

  33. tommui March 23, 2014 1:00 pm

    Michelle (so far) is playing steady, the others are shooting the lights out.
    No way she is going to overtake the leaders but she should finish in the top 10.

  34. NorthShoreFan March 23, 2014 2:00 pm

    for Tat’s should have, could have, would have but his decision included family considerations so it’s huge to give for family…imho

    Dana…the act of giving of ones self…

  35. RainbowCliff March 23, 2014 2:28 pm

    Aloha Tsaiko Nation, I was THERE when Tatsuno and his rainbows baseball team was leading all mens sports during that GREAT run to the College World Series. Those guys were tough on the field and even classy guys off. Ricki Bass, Curt Watanabe, Ron Nomura all had classes with me and they were not only studious students but so humble helping you on missed notes, assignments and schedule tests. Was not only there supporting them at their games but rooting them by my TV set all the way to that championship World Series game.

    When I made my first visit to Hawaii back in August 1999 I ran into Tats on upper campus working at Auxiliary Enterprises under the direction of Wayne Fujishige. Over weight and smoking cigarettes I introduce myself to him in which when he saw my SMILE he got up said my name and we embrace with warm regards after 23 years passed our college athletic days. I spoke to him what I was doing in Los Angeles and the many accomplishments along the way as he just smiled with so much approval to the successes I have done working with disadvantage children at the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center.

    Through out our short time getting reacquainted I told Derek How PROUD I was to be in that GREAT era with him and his outstanding baseball teammates and reassured him that if it wasn’t for his stature being the main athlete leading ALL teams as the face for Hawaii athletics we younger athletes would not understood the importance winning for Hawaii but making each fan young and old so PROUD of us wearing the green and white. Those words to Tatsuno really hit home as we both hugged each other after my appreciative words to him that still today when I look back to my 14 days first coming back to Hawaii that moment was so SPECIAL as Derek Tatsuno was the first former local athlete during our time from 1976 through 1981 that I had a moment to just say “thank you” for being who you were the “baddest pitcher in NCAA history at that time”.

    What ever happen to him in Japan with his arm, coaches changing his delivery or comments he shared with me will always be discussed but one thing for sure Derek Tatsuno was the BEST UH athlete leading Hawaii during that time and carrying all of us on his “tail coats” as he put Hawaii athletics on the map with his dazzling display of pitching artistry that led Hawaii to it’s first and only College World Series. God bless him and Les Murakami “FOREVER” !

  36. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 4:44 pm

    Article about Derek Tatsuno from the archives of SI. Hard to believe that he had to endure a lot of racism when playing up in the Alaska Summer League back then. It was common for Tats was often be called a “Jap” or hear references to Pearl Harbor.

  37. RainbowCliff March 23, 2014 5:39 pm

    Old School Dave, thanks for posting that wonderful article on Derek Tatsuno. Just so PROUD to know the man and even prouder being an athlete with him during that era in which he and his Rainbros were just the BEST in College baseball. Always will respect and KNOW what he did for Hawaii by putting them on the national map. GREAT pitcher and tremendous person. Deserving to be voted in the circle of honor. My Rainbow Warrior fellow athlete for LIFE !

  38. Old School Dave March 23, 2014 5:46 pm

    Rainbow Cliff, you’re welcomed. Always enjoy reading your posts. You are a true green Rainbow Warrior.

  39. NorthShoreFan March 23, 2014 7:06 pm

    Great series win by the BaseBows. On to conference play..IMUA!

  40. 3-Prong March 23, 2014 7:16 pm

    whitey: Doing ok. Heavy damage on green bottles and light damage on the wallet. About what I expected. Took the mrs, her 2 sisters and father in law, for some r&r.

    Some bball crazy pepoes in town wearing dey colors. More of a casual fan myself, who likes watching an upset. Good ting neva wea my Bluejays cap today for my #1. hehe

  41. whitey March 23, 2014 7:57 pm

    3 prong, you my kind of player, damage the casino bar with minimal losses. hahahahahhaaaa

  42. wafan March 24, 2014 2:27 am

    Good morning!

  43. papajoe2 March 24, 2014 5:33 am

    Good morning wafan and everybody else.
    Off to golf.

  44. whitey March 24, 2014 5:39 am

    good morning tsaikos

  45. whitey March 24, 2014 5:39 am

    d1, time to wake up and hi ho hi ho

  46. Bulla March 24, 2014 5:45 am


    aloha and GOOD MORNING, hope all is well, have an awesome day 🙂

  47. Bulla March 24, 2014 5:46 am

    wafan and papajoe2,

    have a great day and the early birds do get the worms, haha

  48. RainbowCliff March 24, 2014 5:53 am

    Old School Dave, good morning. Appreciate your kind words. Always will remember my guys during our times playing for the bows. A special moment in my life that will live with me forever. At 55 I am still active playing some GREAT tennis and still have the athletic skills that made me into a good basketball player that allowed me to receive an athletic scholarship to Hawaii. Stay well kind sir and thank you for all that you do in support to the Rainbow Warriors. Truly you are the very best !

  49. whitey March 24, 2014 6:29 am

    bulla, morning and my best to you and your family always

  50. Da Punchbowl Kid March 24, 2014 7:52 am

    Good Morning to our West Coast Friends – wafan and Rainbow Cliff!

    Good Morning whitey, pj2 and Rev Bu! 🙂

  51. old808 March 24, 2014 8:01 am

    Good morning mahalo #36 for the SI article on Derek Tatsuno. I watched many of his games at the old Rainbow baseball field from behind the back stop. He had such poise on the mound and yes he had a hopping fast ball. Man that fast ball moved in the zone. He was also a good hitter and watched him play when allowed by Murakami to play right field. I was disappointed when he decided to play in Japan and not take the offer made by the Brewers. Life goes on and so long as Tatsuno is happy today that is the main thing.

  52. A-House March 24, 2014 8:16 am


    “fast ball moved in the zone” – incredible ability to do that – even sitting in the “blue section” behind 1st base at Aloha Stadium for the USC game, it was easy to see the movement and it really baffled the SC players

    I don’t recall if I ever say a MLB pitcher duplicate what Tats could do!

  53. A-House March 24, 2014 8:16 am

    say = saw

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