COVID-19 cancels basketball anew

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The gates of the Koblerville Gymnasium that hosts the NMI Rollers Basketball Spring Madness tournament were locked last Saturday as a result of the recent surge of COVID-19 positive cases in the community. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

The CNMI recording its first local transmission of COVID-19 in 204 days resulted in the postponement of the Rollers Basketball Association’s NMI RBA Spring Madness league that was just starting to enter its championship phase at the Koblerville Gymnasium.

In a short statement from tournament director Ethan Kwon, RBA is pushing back all games until further notice.

“Yes, we are pushing back our games until further notice and will most likely resume next weekend,” he said.

Kwon said RBA is taking such measures to ensure the safety of the children who are participating in the spring caging.

“We are playing it safe for the kids. We would like to give the [Governor’s] COVID-19 Task Force enough time to do their contact tracing before we resume,” he said.

The decision to postpone the league, which was heading into its championship matches with the U11 scheduled to complete its second championship match last Saturday, came immediately after a number of community members tested positive over the weekend.

Over the weekend, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force identified a community cluster of cases which identified eight new positive COVID-19 cases within the community.

One of the new positives was a student at the Garapan Elementary School that resumed face-to-face learning just a few months back.

In other news, despite the recent development of COVID-19 within the community, matches in the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association-organized leagues continued as planned over the weekend continued as scheduled.

“Community developments are being monitored closely and if there are any changes to the league schedule, the NMIFA will be sure to notify the public,” a statement from the NMIFA said.

However, NMIFA is currently enforcing a temporary restriction of youth ages 12 and younger from entering the training facility in Koblerville.

Face masks are mandatory before entering the training facility and individuals must practice social distancing at all times while inside.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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