JaBA awaits protocols from Ministry of Health to restart competitions

Observer West writer

Thursday, December 03, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The restart of basketball competitions in western Jamaica could be at least another five months away as the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA) awaits a response to their competition protocols from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Like all sports in the island, the basketball season was interrupted in March when the coronavirus was first discovered in the country, and based on projections, the game could be on hold until April, according to president of JaBA, Paulton Gordon.

“We have submitted the protocols to the ministry and are awaiting confirmation as to when we can restart,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer West recently, adding that “hopefully if things improve and restrictions are lifted we should be able to begin structured competitions at the conference, school and national levels by April.”

Deon Williams, vice-president of Leagues and Operations at the Western Basketball Association (WBA), told the Observer West “there is little we can do about it.”

“There is nothing we can do from the WBA standpoint, we are in a wait-and- see mode,” he said, adding that even efforts to start with smaller events have not borne fruits.

“We had plans to have even some three- on- three activities, but we did not get any approval, not even the Montego Bay Cricket Club is giving us permission for any basketball activities.”

Williams, who is also a FIBA match commissioner, the FIBA 3X3 coordinator for Jamaica, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) basketball coordinator for the Western Conference and a certified referee, table official and coach, admitted it “was a big setback for all stakeholders but the fact is we can't get around the Government stipulations, so we have no options but to pray for the virus threat to subside and then pick up and move forward the best way we can.”

The novel coronavirus pandemic has also resulted in the cancellation of the fourth staging of the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic NCAA Men's Division One basketball event that is normally staged in November at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

That event, Williams noted, is usually one of the major highlights of the season.

“We hope we will get the NCAA event here again next year as the younger players with ambitions of playing college basketball have gotten accustomed to getting the chance to watch the games live,” he said.

Meanwhile, Williams was unsure whether JaBA would continue the National Basketball League where Falmouth Saints were leading the points standings at the time of the stoppage earlier this year.

“It had not been officially abandoned or cancelled by JaBA, so there are still hopes to complete it,” he argued.

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