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Samoa Basketball riding momentum to continue growth

Apia (Samoa) - Samoa National Basketball Association (SNBA) had taken a giant step forward in showing the world their capabilities in developing, organizing and growing basketball in the country in 2019.

SNBA hosted the most prestigious basketball event in the Pacific region during the 2019 Pacific Games that featured 16 teams in the Basketball event with 8 teams in the Men's and Women's division while also hosting the first-ever 3x3 competition in the quadrennial event that saw 25 teams join the competition.

"We had a huge year the past two years with the Pacific Games and the FIBA Polynesian Cup but we don't want to rest on our laurels. We want to ride the positive momentum of our development and continue our rapid growth of basketball in the country," said SNBA President, Tala Pauga.

“We want to improve every aspect of our continuous basketball growth, that’s why we are focused on also developing our technical officials,” he added.

Photo: Malama Laupepe was part of the All-Star Five of the Pacific Games

SNBA held various basketball clinics in February that included coaches, referees and table officials workshop to develop their in-country personnel in organizing the games.

"We are proud to share that we have increased our capable coaches, referees and table officials in February with our clinics," said SNBA Sports Administrator Sarah-Lee Liliuokalani. "We wanted to improve the understanding and usage of the available course guidelines given to us by FIBA and lessons from previous competitions to polish our officials."

SNBA reported that a total of 14 coaches participated in the coaching clinic led by national team head coach Stephen Schuster, while 14 referees attended the Referee clinic and were led by Robbie Ah Fua and David Ah Kuai.

"The clinic helped us physically and mentally with the game. I hope they organize more clinics to help more coaches to have a better understanding of how the game works and how to deal with coaching your team shared by Alema Tamala, one of the participants in the coaching clinic.

 Meanwhile, the table officials clinic spearheaded by Tavita Aukuso and Phila Toma welcomed six participants in the workshop.

"It was hard in the beginning but with the help of the moderators we were able to practice more, it helped us to gain more understanding of how live stats work. More training will gain more knowledge and confidence to run a game." Sofia Lome said.

Pauga stated that SNBA's commitment to the game is strong and they are determined to get Samoa Basketball to the next level.

"As I mentioned earlier, we want to take advantage of our momentum and continue our growth. We want to improve all facets of our program from grassroots, officials, youth and senior national teams. I believe we have a huge potential to be a strong basketball country," Pauga proudly shared.

Samoa's basketball program is on the upswing, the national teams prepared for the Pacific Games with a training camp overseas before the tournament while the Samoa youth teams placed third and fourth place in the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship's Men's and Women's division respectively in 2019.