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Tonga qualifies to the Pacific Games
APIA, Samoa (Polynesian Cup 2018) - After an 18-year absence in the basketball stage and with only six players in uniform, Tonga has done the impossible and qualify to the 2019 Pacific Games.
Team captain Niasi Malua was all smiles after a hard fought 79-77 win over American Samoa in the battle for bronze of the Polynesian Cup.
"There are only a few things you get to do in this life you can be proud of and one is representing your country in any shape and form and our team can tick that off our bucket list," said Malua.
Malua has been one of the catalysts of Tonga's basketball program rebirth which started in 2015 with the Iate Basketball Academy.
"We started the Iate academy which is the national program we put into place which is back in 2015 and that gathering Tongan ballers all over the world," shared Malua. "Because of the 18-year hiatus we were unaware of the eligibility rules but we're here now and we're glad we made it, hopefully, we will have more years to come,"
"I would also like to give props to our sponsors (Real Tonga Airlines, iPL and Printpoppa for making this all happen, we wouldn't be able to be here because of them," he ended.