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CNMI: 11 tournaments slated so far by BANMI - Jan 21, 2004

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Eleven basketball tournaments and still counting.
That is the number of on-island hoops competitions projected by Basketball Association of the Northern Mariana Islands president Rufino Aguon in 2004.
Aguon said the Commonwealth's official basketball calendar begins late this month or early February when the Mobil Oil Marianas 3rd Annual Co-Ed Invitational Basketball Tournament kicks off.
Pacific Development Inc. will be this year's defending champion after it nipped Mobil Oil in an exciting overtime finals thriller in 2003.
Also expected to start this February are the Masters Basketball League 40-and-over tournament and the Budweiser Men's Island-wide Basketball League. Verizon Typhoons and Ol'Aces are the defending champions, respectively, in the aforementioned cage fests.
Come March, BANMI would then organize the Island-wide Village Youth Basketball League with the Chalan Kanoa Saints as the defending champions and the 2004 season of the Inter-Hotel and Restaurant Basketball League, where Keeraku Restaurant is the reigning champ.
Following the Airport Olympics and the Pacific Rim Tournaments on May, BANMI would then get ready for the 18-and-under Saipan Rotary Club Youth Basketball League beginning in June.
The 18-and-under Ol'Aces team is the defending champion this year and will once again go all out to score a rare back-to-back in the Commonwealth's most prestigious junior basketball tournament.
August would be another busy month for BANMI and Aguon as the association would be staging the 35-and-over Masters Basketball League and the Inter-Government Basketball League during the said month.
Old Aces will try to build on last year's success when it dethroned Verizon in the 35-and-over cage league, while defending champion Tinian will take on all comers from Saipan in the 2004 edition of the government cage league.
October then hosts BANMI's last tournament of the year, so far as its calendar indicate, according to Aguon. The month would have the inaugural Gatorade Basketball League taking center stage with the islands' top teams duking it out for the title of best team in the Commonwealth.
As always, the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium would once again be the workhorse for this year's BANMI tournaments. Aguon said most if not all scheduled BANMI events would take place in the Susupe venue with the exception of the IVYBL, which will probably take place on the open courts scattered around Saipan's villages.


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