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Samoa Easter tournament welcomes historic participation of Savaii Association

APIA (Samoa) - Samoa’s relentless drive to continuous development hit another stride with a resounding Easter tournament organized by the new Savaii Association aimed to contribute to the country’s overall mission to grow and hone Samoa basketball.

Led by president Molani Lio, the newly-established Savaii Association held a successful Holy Week tournament for both men and women divisions from across the districts of Upolu, Neiafu, Faaala, Satupaitea, Vaiola, and Salelelologa.

Eleven squads (5 men, 6 women) in under-18 and 14 teams (9 men, 5 women) in open categories showed their wares in the historic tournament comprised of around 300 players, coaches, trainers, and officials.

“This is a historical event that’s never done before in Savaii under the umbrella of Samoa National Basketball Association (SNBA),” said SNBA President Talalaei Pauga

“The distance traveled among the players is very far but the commitment and sacrifices outweighed that long and tough journey. Savaii is very remote compared to Upolu and the limited resources they have but they made this event possible. This is living proof that basketball can be played anywhere," he added.

Photo: Women's basketball action

With the support of local officials and parents, the successful tournament resulted in the creation of the Savaii select Squad representing the Savaii Island that will represent the district in the Independence Tournament in Upolu in June.

It also paved the way for the possibility of being an annual event for SNBA, with the next edition slated to showcase more aspirants next month.

With continuous exposure, some standouts are also seen with potential as the next national team candidates.

“There were some amazing young athletes that we believe will become national team candidates. There is a lot of interest and everyone is looking forward to the next event right away,” shared Pauga.

This Savaii Association program added to the growing list of Samoa’s initiatives to bolster its basketball program even amid the pandemic highlighted by the launch of Samoa Academy last month.

Other projects such as Women in Baller and Mini Basketball Jamboree have jumpstarted the discovery and development across all ranks from grassroots, age-group, female, high school, collegiate and elite talents.