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Excitement arises for Costa Rica's Development League's Tournament

SAN JOSÉ (Costa Rica) — The Costa Rican Basketball Federation (FECOBA) kicks off the second part of the year with one of the leagues that have created the most expectations for the development of national basketball. This is the U24 League, lasting four months (August-November) in a round-robin format that includes the entire country.

The Federation also officially presented the Minor League tournaments for the U16 and U18 categories, as well as their new strategy titled “Toward an inclusive and competitive evolution” in an attempt to draw a clear path toward the development of basketball in Costa Rica.

One of the outstanding aspects of the Minor League and the U24 League tournaments is that FECOBA also made an official announcement regarding the Costa Rica International Cup, an event that will feature the first three teams of each men’s and women's categories. They’ll have the chance to participate in a bracket where a foreign team will also be present. This event will commence after the U12 and U14 categories tournament concludes their second edition in November and December.

“It's a great honor and pleasure for FECOBA to have a U24 League. Three years ago, we thought about transforming what was a second division into a league that offered young players the chance of continuing their formative process when there were few options to participate,” said Álvaro Calvo to FIBA.basketball.

“We've talked to communities and to different regions, to the teams, to tell them that we must help the youth. This league came to foster the great generational change that's taking place, and we're paying close attention to student leagues, national games, university leagues, and this new development league. I feel great satisfaction when I see that many teams from different parts of the country are coming back to play basketball,” the President added.

The U24 is the country's Development League, and there's a representation of every department so that there’s a talent development that may feed the national teams. This is one of the Federation’s greatest objectives.

“The Federation’s intention is to give game experience to kids younger than 24 that haven’t found a place in first division teams. It's great to have this superb number of teams and with kids from different zones. This will promote Costa Rican basketball,” assured Rolando Umaña, National Commissioner of the U24 League.

Umaña also highlighted the new features for this year and invited the public to go to the venues and continue to support a basketball that grows more and more with these initiatives.

The league has 17 teams divided into three zones: Western, Central and Caribbean. On August 3, at La Sabana National Gymnasium the official inauguration took place. The initial phase will last 10 dates until October 13 and then comes the final round, including the quarter-finals, semifinals, and finals in a round-robin format and the best of three games. The tournament concludes on November 30 if a third game is necessary.

“We're satisfied with the average age of the players. They will participate then in international tournaments and in the 3x3. We believe it’ll give us the chance to show the quality of players in the competition,” stated Gerardo Corrales, representative of the University of Costa Rica.

“We're very excited — those of us who were here last year as well as the new ones. The work we do is cultural. We make sure to stay together and the work that the coach does to attract players ensures that the team has a certain level of experience, maturity, and leadership,” said Shezary Alexander Cook, a player for the current champions, Colegio de Abogados.

"We're trying to begin a process from the U8 to the U24 categories and we're trying to be involved in all categories. The idea is to give incentives to one of the sports that we love the most and that has brought us glory. This Development League is a renaissance of Barva Basketball. Something that identifies us is a special love for basketball and seeing more boys and girls getting involved. We're also beginning the women’s process. We want to recover what was begun in the past and begin to cultivate athletes in our country and be able to give the children of our community a place to practice basketball,” added José Daniel Arguedas, President of the Sports Committee of the city of Heredia.

Apart from the start of the men’s development league, which promises to become a great alternative for Costa Rica’s youth, FECOBA is preparing to initiate the Women’s League, in September, which would be another option to promote new figures and rethink the future of national basketball.

“It's so enjoyable and satisfactory for the Federation to see so many people from around the country that motivate the youth and give them continuity. Sports as a social tool is necessary and we're proud that younger kids are starting to practice it. I hope to see the ball dribble with joy throughout the country,” said FECOBA President.

With the FECOBA initiatives, basketball will keep moving forward for the rest of 2019, and the federation will celebrate events of a great competition level that will certainly bring a lot of excitement for sports fans. Costa Rica hopes to turn into a growing field of talents to export and to give educational and social options to improve the quality of life of Costa Rican athletes — while strengthening the Central American nation’s national teams.