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PNG ushers in basketball future in FIBA U17 Oceania
Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) - The future of Papua New Guinea basketball will be in full display when their U17 squad brings the country’s hope in the prestigious FIBA U17 Oceania Championship in New Caledonia.
Underdog, undersized and all, the undeterred PNG U17 group is out to compete for tooth-to-nail as promised by head coach Tubs O’Riley.
“These players hold the future of Papua New Guinea basketball,” said O’Riley ahead of the eight-team tournament set from August 18 to 24 in New Caledonia.
PNG is bracketed in Group B with Cook Islands, Tahiti and host New Caledonia, making it a tough mission to advance in the next round.
Though the goal remains a qualification up to the medal rounds, O’Riley just wants to see improvement from his wards every possession, and every game especially with this U17 Oceania Championship serving as just the start of the long path to PNG basketball’s future.
It is not the end goal just yet but the curtain-raiser to a bright tomorrow, according to O’Riley.
“We just have to take each game one by one. We want to progress as far as possible in this tournament,” he added.
Good thing for PNG, they have a several-month preparation time and a versatile roster to bank on to compete and learn at the same time among the best youth squads in the region.
“We’ve been training extremely well for the past few months. A few adjustments and the team should be ready,” O’Riley vowed.
“We have a quick active team that I hope will be an advantage to us. It’s hard to single out any key player because they all bring a different variety of skills. The biggest task now at this stage is getting them to work as one unit.”
With PNG's basketball program picking up on their development activities including their hosting of the FIBA U15 Oceania last year, the country is taking the necessary step to turn themselves into a powerhouse in the region.