26 - 29
October 2022
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PNG Want to Take the Cup Home…Again

SUVA (Fiji) – The FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 will be a rematch from 2017 with New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea securing wins to compete for Melanesian Basketball glory.

New Caledonia dominated in their final group phase game shooting 59 points to 19 in the first half, marching through to the FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 gold medal match, winning 98-38.

Solomon Islander power forward Kalita Maelasi injured his shoulder in the opening minutes on the game and did not return for the match.  Timmy Magi, Max Grantham and Augustine Basia played well, but it wasn’t enough.  Solos will now face the Fiji in the bronze medal match on the final day of the tournament.

New Caledonia were hard to fault, Jo Delaunay-Belleville led from the front with Raymond Weber and Steeven Sillant both adding to their consistent tournament performances.

“Today we were feeling good, yesterday we didn’t play well so today we wanted to respond and show that we can play good basketball here,” Delaunay-Belleville said.  “I like to play with energy and show that we can all play a high level of basketball here at the FIBA Melanesian Cup.  If the younger players look up to, and follow me, then that’s great.

While Fiji looked to have the game in control at half time, Papua New Guinea fought back to win a spot in the gold medal match, 73-67.  The home crowd were up-and-about for both Fiji and PNG, but it was the defending champions who had more in their tank.

Captain Apia Muri was speechless following the match.

“I’m speechless, it was a good match and we fought to the end,” Captain Muri said.  “We have one team who came into camp, and we trained hard, and we have belief in each other.”

Fouling out with three minutes to go in the final term, Muri was not phased by the enormity if the situation.  “I had faith in them and so much belief, this is why we won.  We have been taking one game at a time, so we will come back tomorrow to take on the younger New Caledonia side.

“We want to take the cup home again.”

Fiji’s starters Josh Fox and Filimone Waqabaca held their own with Isimeli Koroi proving useful off the bench for the host nation.

The FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 wraps up tomorrow with the following finals matches.

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH | Fiji Vs Solomon Islands (2:30pm local time)

GOLD MEDAL MATCH | New Caledonia Vs Papua New Guinea (7:30pm local time)

All games will be livestreamed on the FIBA YouTube Channel.

The top two teams at the Melanesian Cup will qualify for the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.  The Pacific Games then serves as the official qualifier for the Oceania region to the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.