NMIBF calls for safety first, postpones ‘Bola’

Posted on Dec 03 2021
Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation officials

Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation officials led by president James Lee, second left, pose for a photo with representatives of government agencies supporting “Bola” after a meeting at the San Vicente Youth Center in October. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

In response to the growing concern over the rising COVID-19 cases in the community, the Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation has decided to postpone its Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program called “Bola.”

The program is supposed to kick off this Saturday at the San Antonio Basketball Court, but will be moved to January next year with the exact date to be determined later, according to NMIBF president James Lee.

“We met with the stakeholders in our Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program and also reached out to FIBA Oceania and FIBA Foundation, which are supporting ‘Bola,’ and we all agreed to postpone the event to next year. We can’t emphasize enough how we prioritize the safety of our community, especially at this time,” Lee said.

“We will definitely bring the program to the various villages, but we just have to do it the safest possible way. We thanked everyone who came forward to offer their support to ‘Bola’ and for the inquiries we got from the parents and their children. We are looking forward to seeing you at the courts when we kick off ‘Bola’ next year, but for the meantime, practice the 3Ws, wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance,” the NMIBF president added.

The NMIBF Board will work on revising the schedule for the “Bola” sessions, which will cover the villages of San Antonio, Koblerville, Garapan, Susupe, Kagman, Chinatown, San Vicente, Dandan, Tanapag, and San Roque. With the postponement, there’s a possibility that the NMIBF could add more villages.

The NMIBF is offering “Bola” as a free program for children in the 12 years old and below age group. Participants will learn the fundamentals of basketball in a fun and interactive setting. The program aims to identify talents and develop coaches that will run similar initiative in their respective villages with the assistance of the NMIBF. Ultimately, the NMIBF wants to empower villages to run the program, form their own team in different age groups, and compete with other villages.

“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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