HoopFest starts Saturday

GOLD JACKETS: In this 2018 guambasketball.com file photo, the 8U Dededo Yellow Jackets defeated the Tamuning Typhoons 34-24 in the 2018 Thanksgiving HoopFest Tournament presented by Bank of Guam. HoopFest 2019 tips off tomorrow at the Tamuning Gymnasium. For official results, visit guambasketball.com. Contributed photo

With the holidays right around the corner, Guam’s youth basketball players can sense it’s time for the 2019 Thanksgiving HoopFest Tournament. And, with the time-honored turkey-tournament tipping off at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Tamuning Gymnasium will be abuzz with basketball.

The tournament, celebrating its 16th season, is presented by the Bank of Guam.

Featured in the double-elimination classic, six teams from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and two from the Republic of Philippines will compete for the glory.

“The kids are so excited and can’t wait to get to Guam,” said Gideon Diestro, a coordinator from the Philippines.

Making their tournament debut, the Lady Aces and Agape Christian School are excited to be on Guam.

"The girls are so hyped up,” said Corinne Santos, a coordinator from one of the visiting teams. “Several of the players will be visiting Guam for the first time.”

With 35 teams joining in on the action, the gym will be filled with fast-paced fun and competition.

“It's going to be an exciting time for the kids,” said Elsa Ulloa, tournament coordinator.

HoopFest, featuring children from 5 to 18, will wrap up Dec. 1 with a Day of Champions.

After each championship game, awards will be presented for first place, second place, MVP, and top scorer.

Additional information, including game schedules, can be found at www.guambasketball.com.