08 - 17
July 2019
22 Daren Hechanova (GUM)
Game Report
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Guam outclass host Samoa; New Caledonia bolts past Tonga

Apia (Samoa)  - Reigning champion Guam kicked off its title defense with a bang, scoring a 105-81 win over host Samoa in the second day of the 2019 Pacific Games men’s basketball.

Five players registered double-digit outputs for Guam which opened the game with a 29-13 salvo to set the pace in the coast-to-coast win.

Guam then even ballooned the gap to as big as 32 markers on their way to a triumphant first test of their Pacific Games title retention bid.

Tai Wesley uncorked 18 points and five rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting in just 22 minutes of play while Daren Hechanova also added 18 markers, two rebounds and three steals for an effective Guam 1-2 punch combo.

JP Cruz, Mekeli Wesley, and skipper Willie Stinnett III also chipped in 16, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Host Samoa could not match up with the reigning titlist’s firepower as Dru-Leo Leusogi Ape and Sinisini Atoa were reduced to a two-man show with 31 and 16 markers, respectively.

Meanwhile, New Caledonia leaned on a scorching 25-11 start and never looked back en route to an 82-71 win over Tonga.

Beniela Adjouhgniope paced the squad with an all-around outing of 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and five steals while Rodrigue Tetainanuari also contributes 19 markers and seven boards.

Led by Adjouhgniope’s suffocating defense, New Caledonia made Tonga work on their offense due to 21 turnovers that resulted in a 37-percent shooting clip.

Though New Caledonia slightly outrebounded the gritty Tongans with just a 45-42 lead, it atoned in other departments such as turnover points (31-14), fast break points (9-4), second chance points (15-9) and bench points (19-5).

On the other hand, Marcus Alipate registered the tournament’s highest score total thus far with 44 points on top of two rebounds, two assists, and two steals but still proved to be insufficient in Tonga’s loss.

No other player scored in double figures for Tonga which trailed by as many as 15 points.