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Northern Marianas Island launch Mini Basketball in their country

SAIPAN (Northern Marianas Island) - The Northern Marianas Islands Basketball Federation (NMIBF) launched its Mini Basketball program this July to introduce the sport to the new generation of players in the country.

NMIBF is currently participating in the ongoing Mini Basketball Seminars conducted by FIBA's International Basketball Foundation that champions the Basketball For Good cause.

The NMIBF Mini Basketball program started last July 6 and will continue until July 30 as part of the Summer Sports Camp 2021.

“We are excited with our Mini Basketball and Basketball for Good programs, as we want to reach out to as many youths as we can. For over a year, we’ve seen limited basketball and other sports activities " NMIBF president James Lee shared with the Saipan Tribune.

"So through these initiatives, we want to get back on track and in the long-term build a strong grassroots program,” he added.

The ongoing program is spearheaded by NMIBF Director Irish Pagaro with Marylyn Lumabi with sessions held at the Gillette Multipurpose Gymnasium from Monday to Friday from 10:30 am to 12 pm which includes basic basketball, 3x3 introduction and skills training.

“I love it here, I get to play with a lot of kids. I’ve been wanting to learn basketball, but I did not have a lot of chances to play because I was busy with school. Now that we are on school break, I am happy that I can play,” said participant Francisco Faimaw.

Mini Basketball is a program that promotes stimulating playful grassroots basketball for – 12-year-olds of both genders. The aim is to educate on the importance of good health and well-being. It is also one of the FIBA Foundation's Community Impact projects that address social issues facing the community through basketball.

The program has brought together families to bond during the sessions while introducing the sport in a fun and safe way, proud parents Jun Estolas and Darwin Barbo shared their enthusiasm with the program.

“They used to see us play, now it’s the other way around. I am happy that he picks up the sport I am passionate about,” Estolas mentioned

“As parents, we are glad to see programs like this, as they teach our children not only about basketball but as well as values, such as teamwork and discipline,” Barbo remarked.

NMIBF plans to run more clinics in October and November while looking for potential partners to sustain the program and build the grassroots program in the country.