The Raiwaqa Basketball Players Association will be hosting an U18 Basketball Tournament for both boys and girls which will run from the 4th May - 8th June 2013. Intersted teams or players looking to join a club is to contact Mereleni Waqairawai on 9337434
Basketball is gathering momentum in Raiwaqa, like a rolling stone gathering moss. It has reached the point where, for the first time, Raiwaqa will host and run the Easter club championship. It is a milestone in the revival of basketball in the sports heartland and a feather on the cap of the boys running the show. PAULA TAGIVETAUA gives an account of how the sons of basketball are shaping up for their biggest assignment.
I WENT to Eds court again on Monday after some time, about two months. Funny how time slips by without notice. I seemed to come back to earth.
I realised some things within arms reach which I had overlooked. The sevens saga seemed to blanket other sports over the past six weeks.
I doubt if rugby fans realised that Raiwaqa basketball and other sports continued with life.
Eds court is just across the road but it seemed I had not been there in ages.
I felt a pang of guilt because I have a deep sense of belonging with the happenings on court.
I sat on the footpath with Pete, a nephew from Browning, our backs to the sun, and watched the rehearsal tournament to prepare for the Post Fiji National Basketball Championship next weekend.
I watched the quarter-finals featuring the top eight finishers until the final where Bryce Warriors beat Hands from Lami 29-25.
It was not the final many expected because the heat went out after Boston took the Warriors to the edge in the semi-finals, only to lose by half a basket 31-30.
It was a revived Boston, with Peni Ratumaiyale coaching from the side and the voice of Raiwaqa Di Mere barracking from the pavilion for her sons and nephews playing for Boston.
At the opposite end of the court, Lus bameti drew the swipers.
Max commented there had been some quality games and I agreed.
Shows the teams have improved since the revival tournaments and competition started five months ago.
Now, the boys running the show are into the big time.
They have been given the green light by Fiji Basketball to run the Easter club tournament from April 7-11.
The boys met a bit of opposition in the form of people saying this and that nothing positive but I told them to keep doing what they were doing.
The boys I am talking about, I watched them grow from boys to men.
Some are married, some have a girl friend and some still flying solo.
They are the sons of Raiwaqa basketball, carrying on the legacy left behind by their fathers and uncles.
Their names are synonymous with Raiwaqa basketball Cinavi, Tuimabualau, Waqairawai, Rasova, Naitini, Sokosoko, Singh, Dau, Tagivetaua, Namalo, Low Chee, Dyer, Colata, Tamani, Fong, Ravai, Koroi and Moce.
They take part as a player, official or administrator.
The faces I am familiar with from the past are out of the picture.
The only senior faces who are supporting the movement are Darkie and Bugsy with the whistle and Nua behind the scoreboard. Jo Tamani is the top ref.
The veterans have formed a team and showing dangerous form.
Sakenasa has quit playing because of his knee and is handling the Warriors, the team to beat at the moment, and is responsible for the development side of things.
Peni has put structure into the
teams pattern of play, something that will challenge the Warriors, Hands and Bryceland which beat them the other week.
Hands showed discipline and dedication.
They come early for their game and wait patiently under the mango tree.
They have a tall boy.
Pete told me he is a grandson of the late Tui Nayau.
He uses his height well off the backboard and rebounds.
The attitude shown by Hands players earned them respect from the Warriors and after the final on Monday, Saki said they split their prizemoney and gave Hands $100.
It was a gesture of comradeship.
I was told the Hands players took their money home for a party but Joe Rodan shouted them drinks for making the final.
Well, if Joe shouts you drinks, its like drinking the brewery.
It was good to hear the man backing the Hands team.
Its been a long time.
There is no better man to have as a supporter. Joe has been the main man behind the scene in many sports and has inspired a lot of sportspeople from Nukuwatu.
With his support, Hands will be strong and their performance on Monday will boost them at Easter.
I was told four teams have entered from the West.
Some teams wanted in at the last minute but were late.
For the first time, the Easter championship will have prizemoney for teams that reach the semi-finals in the men and women.
The mens winner will take away $1000, runner-up $600 and the semifinalists will split $400.
The womens winner will receive $800 and there will be cash prizes for the runner-up and semi-finalists.
Games start next Tuesday at the Vodafone Arena and continue through the week until the finals on Saturday.
Everything is set, said Saki.
It will be very interesting.
The teams have been training hard and we have to lift our preparation.
I admire the dedication of the boys running the show.
They started from scratch to revive the game and overcame the odds that came their way.
Now, their perseverance and hard work is starting to pay off.
They secured sponsors through their own connections and now they are looking at the Raiwaqa connection in the
and around the world.
Saki said now it was time for Raiwaqans in the States to help out.
We told them we want a laptop for our administration work, he said.
On Friday, the raiwaqa.raiwaqa website had a message from Master Pete which read: As the 4th of April nears I would like to remind us for a small token to brothers and sisters in Raiwaqa. Can we please donate $US20 each. Funds collected will be wired to
to allow them to purchase balls locally. Cost of a Nike ball at Tappoos is $F29.
For the Easter tournament, 16 mens teams and eight womens have been included in the draws.
rep Tekei has been approached to be in charge of the officials because of her vast experience.
Saki said after Easter, they plan to have a kaji competition Under-20.
When we start the next season, we could have the kaji play in the morning and the seniors in the afternoon.
On Monday, a veteran player was sent off and had a fine imposed on his team for conduct unbecoming of a senior player of Raiwaqa.
I commend the boys for taking such disciplinary action.
It was the right thing to do and will be a deterrent for unruly behaviour.
There are some volatile players in some teams who will have to learn how to channel or control their temper.
The veterans have been doing the hard yards on Eds court.
Since they joined the weekly competition, they have beaten the Warriors,
and Hands, so they will be a force this weekend.
The younger teams know if the veterans get to be 50 per cent fit, the other 50 per cent is the experience under their belt.
It surely will be interesting, as Saki said.
Nothing much is known about the westerners but Namoli players have always brought the west challenge to the capital.
They play like Raiwaqa tough, rough, fast and cunning deadly combination.
The future looks good.
The boys have plans in the pipeline.
One plan is to organise the defence forces in an inter-unit tournament during Sukuna Bowl week.
There is talk of a home and away series in Lautoka and
and the Raiwaqa Basketball Players Association will foot the bill, through sponsors.That will be good
teams tour to the west and on the return leg, west teams come to the capital for a break.
But for now, the first ever Easter championship to be run by Raiwaqa beckons.
Who wouldnt want to win the cash prizes on offer for the first time in the history of the game in
The Fiji Times Online
Monday, March 30, 2009