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Samoa's Rising Star: Peata Manumaleuga Lights Up the Court in Shenzhen

Peata Manumaleuga, a rising star in Samoan basketball, is making waves at the FIBA U18 Women's Asia Cup. Her journey with the sport, and representing her island nation, has been one of success and great pride.

"In 2022, I started playing for Samoa," Manumaleuga says, "when we made history by advancing to Division A for the first time ever in U16s. Since then, Samoa Women's basketball has just kept creating history."

Manumaleuga’s impressive history with the national team includes the FIBA U16 Women's Asia Cup – Division B in 2022, and in the same year the U18s Women's Basketball Asia Cup. Last year she once again pulled on the Samoa jersey at the FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Cup but this time in Division A, followed by the FIBA U17 Women’s Oceania, and mthe Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

Peata Manumaleuga at the 2023 Pacific Games

More Than Just a Game

For Manumaleuga, basketball is more than just a sport. "Being a woman and playing basketball, especially now," she explains, "is something special. It's about putting our country on the map for young girls who are coming up behind us."

Representing Samoa is a source of immense pride for Manumaleuga. "Playing for my family and country is an honor," she says. "It humbles you to play hard every single second and to take pride in representing Samoa everywhere I go."

Inspiration on and Off the Court

Manumaleuga 's biggest inspiration comes from close to home. "Growing up, it's always been me and my sisters," she shares. "This sport connects us and makes us so competitive, both on and off the court. Without them, I don't know if I'd even love basketball as much as I do today."

Another pillar of support is her mother. "Representing my country," Peata reveals, "always brings me back to her. She's incredibly proud to be Samoan, and I wouldn't be who I am today without her."

Peata Manumaleuga celebrating following 2022 U16 Women's Asia Cup promotion

Leading the Charge

Manumaleuga's leadership qualities shine on the court in Shenzhen at this year’s FIBA U18 Women’s Asia Cup. "This group of girls is special," she says. "We've gelled quickly, putting aside our differences for the love of the sport."

Leading an international team comes with challenges, but Peata embraces them. "It's not always easy," she admits, "but I'm always looking for ways to push our team forward. Helping these girls grow, not just in this tournament but throughout their careers, is a big goal for me."

Learning from the Best

Peata is also carving a path in Australia's NBL1 league. "I love NBL1," she enthuses, "and the amazing women I'm learning from, including the coaches and staff."

Playing alongside experienced players from the US, WNBL, and international leagues is a valuable learning experience. "The WNBL is definitely a long-term goal," Peata confides. "Playing at the highest-level back in Australia is a dream."

The Road Ahead

With her final year of school approaching, Peata has her sights set on Division 1 college basketball. "The decision on which college is still up in the air," she says, "but it's definitely a goal."

Peata Manumaleuga's journey is far from over. On and off the court, she is a role model for young Samoan girls, a leader on the rise, and a star waiting to shine even brighter.