www.nzherald.co.nz
A Mormon bishop is the captain of a New Zealand major league basketball team and he won't play in the tournament this weekend.

Our take: The captain of a major league New Zealand basketball team is also a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he will sit out of their championship game this Sunday for religious reasons.

HAWKE'S BAY, New Zealand — The absence of Bay Hawks captain Paora Winitana looms as a potentially decisive factor heading into the final four of the NBL in Wellington this weekend.

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Winitana will suit up on Saturday night for the Hawks' semifinal clash with the Wellington Saints but, should his side advance, the former tall black will be unable to take the court for Sunday's final.

The small forward is a Mormon bishop and will sit out the showpiece — against either the Auckland Pirates or the Manawatu Jets — for religious regions for the second year running.

And the coaches of the league's also-rans seem to agree — the Paul Henare-coached Hawks should make the final but they'll struggle without their talisman.

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Email: mgarrett@desnews.com