NMI Set to Debut at FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup

26 Mar 2024

SAIPAN (Northern Mariana Islands) - The Northern Mariana Islands are set to make their debut at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, and the excitement is real among the young players representing the small island nation.

Two rising stars, Coby Santos and Kaia Travilla, shared their journeys and aspirations ahead of the tournament.

Both Santos and Travilla discovered basketball at a young age.  Santos launching onto the FIBA scene at the 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup leading the tournament in points, and rebounds to finish as the top performer.

Coby Santos in Action at the 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup

"It all started with just wanting to get better at the game I loved," Santos says of his early basketball days, which have evolved and developed to compliment the 3x3 style. Travilla credits her grandpa for sparking her passion. "He'd spend hours yelling at the TV during his favourite team's games," she recalls. "We'd watch together, and his love for the game made me want to try it myself."

The fast-paced, action-packed nature of 3x3 basketball holds a special allure for both players. "The intensity is there from the very first shot," says Santos, emphasising the quick point system that keeps the game exciting.

"It's all about speed, stamina, and strategy coming together," Travilla adds. "The need for quick decisions and flawless execution is what makes 3x3 so thrilling."

The upcoming FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup presents a golden opportunity for the NMI players.  "This is a huge tournament for me, and I can't wait to test myself." Travilla shares similar sentiments. "This is a chance to learn and grow as a player.  Facing tough competition will definitely push me to improve."

Kaia Travilla Ready for FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup Debut

Santos believes 3x3's accessibility and fast pace will significantly impact basketball development in the NMI. "The recent tournaments have seen a surge in new players," he observes. "3x3 could be a fantastic gateway into the sport."

With a blend of youthful enthusiasm, dedication, and a strong team spirit, Coby Santos and Kaia Travilla embody the aspirations of the NMI's 3x3 team. Their journey at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup promises to be an exciting chapter, not just for them, but for the future of basketball in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup action runs from March 27-31, and you can follow it live on TV and on social media on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube Channel.  The event schedule can be found here.