17 - 25
November 2023
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Samoa Victorious in Pacific Games Opener

HONIARA (Solomon Islands) - Samoa opened their Pacific Games campaign with a hard-fought win over host nation, the Solomon Islands, 49-56.

It was a fierce and hot contest from tip-off, with the local crowd piling in to support their local heroes as they pushed Samoa in the first match of the competition.

Samoan Guard, Semika Chong Nee relished the opportunity in his first Pacific Games to finish with 16 points, and 4 rebounds.

“I felt right at home, my teammates trusted me, they gave me the looks, and I just knocked them down,” Chong Nee said.  “It’s part of the game plan preparing for these games and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”

“It was good to have our first hit out as a team, it was the type of game we needed for the experience to get a grip of ourselves.  It’s a great experience, the levels are different, it’s a lot faster and a lot quicker, my teammates are helping me adapt, I felt right a home.”

Elika Tutagalevao also impressed in his Pacific Games debut with 12 points, and 6 rebounds, with captain Josh Nickel using his strength and leadership to guide his men to victory.

Chong Nee said that team preparations played a vital role in the win.

“All of our preparations are coming into play, there are a few things we need to clean up, but we can work on that ahead of our next game,” Chong Nee said.

“Preparing for the Pacific Games has been a great experience, it’s been great bonding, we all flew to Samoa to train together prior to the games which was awesome to come together before heading here.  We have good leaders and a great balance of experience.”

The Pacific Games will be hosted by Solomon Islands from November 19 – December 2, 2023.  The Pacific Games Basketball Tournament is the official qualifiers of the Oceania region to the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.