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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Fund-raiser for Ma'afala

Advertiser Staff

In a new brand of showtime basketball, teams of local entertainers will gear up for the second annual Big Nick Entertainers Invitational 2002 on Saturday at the McKinley High School gym.

Organizers promise good basketball with a Tahitian flair for the six-team benefit tournament honoring the late Nick Ma'afala, a former University of Hawai'i football player who died April 7, 2001, from leukemia. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 a.m. and admission is free.

"A lot of the players dance at showrooms," said organizer Pesi Silva. "They'll come with Tahitian drums and they'll start drumming away."

For players, the tournament is an opportunity to mingle in a friendly game that raised $1,500 for Ma'afala's medical costs this year.

"At the shows, everyone competes against each other," said Silva, who coaches defending champion South Seas Village at Hawaiian Hut and also entertains there. "But for one day it's just one big family."

Ma'afala's brother, Tenari, who is a decorated Honolulu police officer, will referee. Other teams are from the Polynesian Cultural Center, Paradise Cove Luau, Germaine's Luau, Tihati Productions and Magic of Polynesia.

Nick Ma'afala was diagnosed with leukemia in 2000 and received a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Leimomi, last year. The transplant appeared to be successful, but Ma'afala's health worsened and he died at St. Francis Medical Center. He was 33.

Ma'afala was a graduate of McKinley High and a defensive lineman for UH in 1985 and '86.


• LPGA event postponed: Yesterday's first round of the 2002 LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament was postponed because of bad weather. There are 36 holes scheduled for today with the tournament ending Friday.

The first LPGA Qualifier is being played at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Hawai'i's Camie Hoshino, Summerset Lovett and Christel Tomori are in the field of 162.

The top 30 players move on to LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, Oct. 7-10.