July 23, 2013 Pohnpei, FSM -Disappointed the FSM Games were canceled once again this year, the Pohnpei Basketball Association decided to host a Pohnpei Invitational Basketball tournament at the National Campus gymnasium in Palikir.
The Pohnpei Basketball Association (PBA) sent invitations in February to the Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap Basketball Associations. They also sent invitations to teams in Hawaii, Guam, RMI, Palau, and Kiribati.
PBA President Cassidy Shoniber said that only a team from Tafunsak, Kosrae and a local team called Four Stars consisting of players from Pohnpei, Yap, and Chuuk responded to the invitations. "Most of the associations weren't financially capable of sending a team," Shoniber wrote.
It didn't stop the invitational tournament from getting off the ground. A Yap team was formed that consists mainly of COM students attending the College of Micronesia National Campus. A group of Kosraeans living in Pohnpei formed KSA-PNI. Pohnpeians formed three separate teams, one coached by Francisco Simram, another by Aurelio Joab, and a third coached by Mark Johnny.
For the women's division, four local teams signed up to compete in the tournament, the COM-FSM team, Team Kitti, Team Kolonia, and Team Kapinga.
The tournament got under way on July 15 at the COM China Friendship gym in Palikir and will end on July 25, the day after the deadline for this newspaper.
Shoniber said that the intention of the tournament is to create friendship in a setting of friendly competition. He said that it was also intended to provide an activity for young people during the summer, to prevent underage drinking, and to prepare players for the upcoming Micronesian Games that will take place in Pohnpei next summer.
Shoniber said the tournament was organized through joint efforts by the Pohnpei Basketball Association, the College of Micronesia, and the Pohnpei Sports Office.
He said that the major sponsors for the tournament were MATSON, Mesenieng Credit Union, and Etscheit Enterprises. The other sponsors who also contributed were Seven Stars, EMC, SPC, Western Union, FSM Telecommunications Corporation, Kolonia Town Government, Saint Joseph Youth, The Bank of the FSM, and Nihco Store, listed in no particular order.