Mariana Islands Basketball Federation has decided not to send men’s and women’s teams in the 5×5 competition in the 2019 Pacific Games that will be held in Samoa.
“Basketball has advised us that they will not be sending any 5×5 teams,” Northern Marianas Sports Association president Michael White said.
“It’s too costly,” MIBF official Elias Rangamar said in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.
NMSA members, in earlier meetings, estimated the costs (airfare and accommodations) to send athletes/officials to Samoa at around $2,000 per delegate.
MIBF had to inform NMSA that it is ruling out fielding teams in the 5×5 basketball contest in the quadrennial event as CNMI local sports federation have until December to inform Samoa organizers about the number of athletes and officials they are sending in Apia. Early this year, MIBF had expressed interest in competing in 5×5 basketball both in the women’s and men’s divisions. Federations that committed to bring teams to Samoa will not be fined if they back out, but organizers need the numbers by December this year for accommodation purposes, as most participants will be housed in hotels. The Pacific Games will run from July 7 to 20.
“We decided not to send teams in the 5×5 and instead we are trying to work something out for the 3×3 competition,” Rangamar said.
For the 3×3, MIBF will stick with the same men’s team that represented the Commonwealth in the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu. Jack Lizama, Preston Basa, Dan Barcinas, and Douglas Schmidt suited up for the CNMI in the Mini Games last year, earning a 3-5 record and missing the playoff round.
“We are sticking with the same guys because we need consistency,” Rangamar said, adding that they will also keep the women’s squad that ruled last year’s qualifying tournament and invite a couple more players.
Sisters Anna Lei and Eleina Santos and Halle Kenty anchored Fab IV to the finals win over CTSI in the 3×3 Hoopfest Marianas 2017.
With the CNMI not sending teams in the 5×5 competition, Team Marianas is left to participate in athletics, tennis, canoe, beach volleyball (men’s and women’s), indoor volleyball (men’s), and weightlifting. These are the sports that committed to compete in Samoa as per NMSA’s meeting last October (the Nov. monthly meeting was canceled due to Super Typhoon Yutu), while baseball and golf had no representatives in last month’s gathering.