Basketball Association of Northern Mariana Islands will host the 2014 Settsu-Saipan Friendship Basketball Tournament in March with Guam teams invited to join the visiting Japanese squads in the annual competition.
According to tournament director and coordinator Gabriel White, the Settsu Red Impulse Basketball Club is bringing in two U18 teams (girls and boys) for the sixth edition of the tournament that will run from March 26 to 28 at the Marianas High School Gymnasium. This year’s event is expected to draw more teams, as BANMI has also extended its invitation to Notre Dame Royals and George Washington High School, along with the private and public schools on Saipan.
The MHS Lady Dolphins are the defending champions in the girls U18 division after beating the COPSSA All-Stars last season. The MISO All-Stars rounded out the Top 3 finish. In the boys division, the MISO All-Stars are the reigning titlists, following their victory over Settsu last year, while Tinian High School and COPSSA All-Stars were ranked third and fourth, respectively.
“The SSFBT is very exciting and local student athletes have been buzzing about this event since it ended last year, and they can’t wait for it to happen again. It is a fun-filled week of activities as well as competition, and it keeps getting bigger and better! Everyone goes home a winner with lots of gifts and souvenirs, but more so, many memories from engaging in this cultural sporting exchange,” White said in an email sent to Saipan Tribune.
Before kicking off the games, BANMI together with Settsu will be conducting a players’ clinic on March 26 from 3pm to 5pm at the MHS Gymnasium. BANMI development official and national coach Elias Rangamar will be working with Settsu assistant coach and manager Shouki Omura during the two-hour event
Meanwhile, BANMI is calling on members of both the private and public sectors to support the Settsu caging. Detailed sponsorship packages are available and copies can be obtained from White. For more information, call 287-2424 or 234-6548. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)