Basketball: The national basketball team has left for the Philippines for a 10-day practice trip that is expected to help them get used to the international scene.

The national coach with Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF), Tenxin Jamtsho, said that the team will have practice matches with local and university teams in Philippines, where basketball is hugely popular. “The main reason for this practice session is to help adjust our players to international standard of the game and it is also a preparation for the SABA games. It is an exposure match for our new team members,” he said.

The new national basketball team was formed a month ago to represent the country during the South Asian Basketball Association’s (SABA) league that will be held in Delhi this July.

The selection was conducted after the BBF announced an open invitation to all interested individuals. The BBF committee then selected 12 players based on their individual performances. Except for a few ex-national players, the squad this year comprises mostly new players.

Team captain, Chimi Wangchuk, said that this practice tour should help the new players adjust to international level of the game. “Players can learn and experience new techniques in the game since most of them are participating in the SABA games for the first time this year,” he said.

The 12 players and two BBF officials will return on May 5.

Meanwhile, the BBF is organising the B-division basketball league from April 24. A total of 12 teams are taking part in the tournament. The nine-day competition will end on May 2.

By Younten Tshedup