Bola’ kicks off at Kobler; safety protocols in place


A young player works on his dribbling skills during a clinic Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation helped facilitate in the summer last year. This year, the NMIBF will kick off its Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program dubbed as “Bola” this Saturday at the Koblerville Basketball Court.

The Northern Marianas Islands Basketball Federation will open the Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program dubbed as “Bola” this Saturday at the Koblerville Basketball Court with the safety of the participants as its top priority.

“The NMIBF is excited to finally bring ‘Bola’ to our villages, starting off at Koblerville. And we would like to assure parents and guardians of our participating players that this event will be conducted with the safety of your children in our mind,” NMIBF president James Lee said.

To minimize contact and observe safe distance, “Bola” sessions will be run by stations. There will be four stations spread out at the Koblerville court. Each participant will also have their own basketballs to work with during drills. Program co-leaders Irish Pagarao and Marlene Lumabi will teach participants basic drills on dribbling, passing, shooting, and footwork. NMI National Team Program players and NMIBF officials will also be there to assist in the session that will run from 4pm to 6pm.

There will be temperature checks at the site and wearing of masks will be required. Interested participants are encouraged to come at the venue at least 15 minutes before the kick-off to register. Those who have already secured registration and waiver forms must bring the filled-out copy at the designated court. Registration forms are available at the Koblerville Youth Center and can be also obtained by emailing or visiting NMIBF’s Facebook page NMIBasketballFederation.

The NMIBF will provide bottled water for players, but they are still encouraged to bring extra hydration and must wear appropriate clothing and shoes for their safety and convenience.

“Bola,” which has been postponed a couple of times due to the COVID-19 cases situation on island, is NMIBF’s take on FIBA’s Basketball For Good program. Through the support of FIBA Oceania and FIBA Foundation, the NMIBF will be able to provide a free program for boys and girls in the 12-and-under age group and teach them skills on and off the court.

The NMIBF took the approach of bringing “Bola” to the heart of the community to empower villages and their leaders in running similar programs and instilling village pride through sports and community involvement.

From the Koblerville Basketball Court, “Bola” will move to the Garapan Basketball Court for the Jan. 29 session. Other “Bola” stops include the Civic Center Basketball Court on Feb. 5; Kagman Community Center Court on Feb. 12; Chinatown Basketball Court on Feb. 19; San Vicente Community Center basketball court on Feb. 28; and As Matuis Basketball Court on March 5. All sessions will run from 4pm to 6pm and players are encouraged to sign up for the sessions at their respective village or the closes one.

The above schedule is just the first leg of Bola, as the NMIBF is planning to visit more villages, including Tinian and Rota.

“Bola” will be held in partnership with the Office of the Governor, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, the Office of Youth Affairs, the Division of Youth Services, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, and DCCA’s Sports and Recreation. (PR)

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