PNG U18 Men Split Australian Tour

The Papua New Guinea Under 18 Men’s National Basketball Team have split their two-game tour of Australia with one-win and one-loss.

The visitors defeated the Cairns Stingers U18 representative team 80-62 on Sunday afternoon, before being outclassed by the Cairns Marlins U18 representative side, 99-58 on Monday night.

In Sunday’s matchup, PNG played to their potential putting on a ‘run & gun’ show in front of a large Fish Tank crowd. While the team excited spectators with their dynamic, offensive style of play, it was a solid second quarter defensive showing that helped the team race to a 36-23 halftime lead.

The lead extended out to as many as 25-points throughout the third term, before the Stingers pegged it back to the final 18-point margin.

PNG guard Moses Kairi showed his shooting quality, bagging 18-points including four long-range triples. Australian-based PNG rep Liam Wright also had a solid all-around performance with 19.

In their second game, a slow start hurt the PNG side, with the Cairns Marlins jumping out to a 29-19 first quarter advantage. Australian U17 star Kody Stattman was dominant for the hosts, piling up 17-points in the opening stanza, including five three-pointers.

The scoring spree continued in the second period, with the Marlins racing to a 50-31 halftime lead. 

On the back of a vocal PNG crowd, the visitors made a run reducing the lead down to 9-points midway through the third. It wasn’t to be PNG’s day however, with the Marlins holding strong, their depth and experience helping them seal the 41-point victory.

Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) Chief Executive Officer Joel Khalu, who is also the PNG U18 Men’s Head Coach said the games proved to be a valuable learning experience.

“In the opening match I thought we did a great job defensively, which led to a lot of fast-break opportunities,” Khalu said.

“We were able to get stops and rebound the basketball, which triggered our up-tempo style of play.”

“In the second game against some better opposition, we had a lot of defensive breakdowns and that hurt us early.”

“Once we got in that hole, it was always going to be a massive challenge to dig ourselves back out.”

“To the players’ credit though, they never gave up and kept on fighting and it was pleasing to see that PNG passion and pride until the final siren.”

“The players learned a lot from both games and that is what this tour was all about, creating opportunities for our PNG players to get international experience and exposure.”

For more information please contact BFPNG Chief Executive Officer Joel Khalu on


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