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"We (Tahiti) expect to finish in the top two" - Tuahivaatetonohiti

TAHITI (Polynesia Cup) - Tahiti will journey to Samoa with the goal of qualifying for the 2019 Pacific Games.

Tahiti Basketball Federation Secretary General Hans Tuahivaatetonohiti believes they have done everything they can to prepare for the Polynesia Cup.

"We expect to finish in the top two, we worked really hard in the last 3 weeks, very good preparations, physically and technically," said Tuahivaatetonohiti.

"We have coaches who are experienced with men and women and they have mainly focused on getting along between players. The unity was the first concern," he added.

The Polynesia Cup will feature five teams from the region; Cook Islands, Tonga, Tahiti, American Samoa, and host Samoa.

The top two teams will qualify for the 2019 Pacific Games which serves as the gateway for the Oceania region to compete in the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.

"We are coming in SAMOA to get qualified, not to be spectators, so we will give everything we have to achieve that goal," stated Tuahivaatetonohiti.

"I think American Samoa will be the toughest ones to face. But, we never know. We can be surprised by Tonga and the Cook Islands. But, as I said earlier, we are not coming on vacation," he added.

Tuahivaatetonohiti pointed several players to look out for in the Men's and Women's team competing in the regional meet.

"For the boys, certainly we look out for Ariirimarau Meuel because he plays very good basketball, and he used to play in the US and in France," he said.

"For the girls, most certainly Maea Lextreyt who is very well known in the South Pacific for she played in France and is very talented. But, we also have 17-year-old Aeata Tepu, who has signed a professional contract in France but didn't go because of the Polynesian cup. Her father coaches the Tahiti girls team," he added.

Tahiti is fairly confident in their preparation and has a clear mission to finish in the top two. Can the team from French Polynesia accomplish their goal?

Tuahivaatetonohiti had a message to the supporters of their national team and gave this message to FIBA in their native language.

"E hoa here ma, teie te hoe pae o ta oe mau tamarii o tei tapapa nei i teie fenua Samoa no te haru i te re matamua i roto i teie tatauraa porinetia. Te hinaaro nei matou e faaite i outou paatoa, e imi matou te mau ravea atoa ia nenehe ia matou e tapae tera opuaraa. Te tiaturi nei matou e turu outou i matou i roto i teie nei tatauraa, na roto t outou mau pure, e ore ra, na roto i te outou mau parau faaitoitoraa."