This is an exciting time for Samoan Basketball fans.
Two teams from Samoa are taking part on the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2018 in Shenzhen, China.
The teams, one women and one men’s team, will participate in the qualifying draw. The women’s team left last Wednesday and the men’s team left on Friday morning.
The President of the Samoan Basketball Federation, Pauga Talalelei Pauga, said they are excited to represent Samoa.
“When we left for the Turkmenistan tournament last year, we did not have any high expectations; we did not have the same experience like the other teams,” he said.
“This time, unfortunately rugby took one of our best players. Theodore MacFarland got a contract to play rugby in Tokyo but the guys are positive with their preparations. I am pretty sure they are going to do it well.”
The women’s team members representing Samoa are mostly from overseas.
“We normally get our players to contribute, do fundraising and also ask the government. For this trip, we did some fundraising and we got some more application for sponsors. We have different sources for the financial coverage.
“The exposure of not just the players, but the name of Samoa in basketball is going to be high. For example, in Turkmenistan in last year’s game, a lot of people did not know about Samoa.
“I hope Samoa’s name is getting known through this event, not only in basketball, but also in the outside world.
“It is always about rugby not a lot about basketball, I hope this is going to change,” he said.
The President know they are up against some quality competition.
“The Qatar team is one of the top teams in the world. They have more experience than our Samoan team.
“The men’s team is good. We now have a totally different women’s team and they have a better chance then back at the Asian indoor games. I am very comfortable with both of the teams.
“They have been training together for about tree years now. They know each other. They started their preparations just three weeks ago.
“They are comfortable playing together. The men are all from Samoa, they have been playing together all the time,” he shared.
After the participation at the Asia Cup, the team will prepare for the World Series qualifying match.
“It would be expensive, but hopefully when they do well at the Asia Cup then they will get a sponsor for the World Series. That is what I am hoping for.
“When they come back they will go back to preparation because we have the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
“The basketball programme is now a yearly event. It is not like before, where we just have a few tournaments in a year, it is a full year programme.
“Three by three is different than five by five and the culture and physicality of Samoans are more present there. It is a lot of physical contact.”
All the games will be shown only on the FIBA World website.