Competition Draw Now Set for 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup
The Papua New Guinea (PNG) men’s national basketball team will open their 2017 FIBA Melanesia Cup campaign against the Solomon Islands, while the PNG women’s representative side will face 2015 Pacific Games female champions Fiji, in their first tournament encounter.
The 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup draw was released recently and the four-day event will see some classic rivalries get renewed.
PNG men have the opportunity for revenge in Friday night’s showcase matchup against Fiji, the team who beat the host nation in the 2015 Pacific Games semi-finals. Before taking on the games’ silver medalists however, PNG will do battle against Oceania powerhouse New Caledonia on Thursday at 7pm.
After their opening meeting against Fiji, PNG women will then confront New Caledonia on Thursday afternoon, before competing against the Solomon Islands on Friday.
BFPNG Chief Executive Officer and Head Coach of the PNG men’s national basketball team Joel Khalu said there would be no easy games throughout the tournament.
“This is going to be one really tough, challenging competition,” Khalu said.
“When you look at the schedule, there’s no easy nights for any team and you have to be one-hundred percent prepared for each match-up."
“There are no semi-finals too. After the preliminary rounds the top two teams play for gold and the next two play for bronze, so every group phase contest is extremely important.”
“I think a major part of achieving success will come down to how well prepared teams are physically, so we’re putting a lot of emphasis into strength and conditioning work now with our partners from PNG High-Performance, who are working tirelessly to make sure our athletes can handle four intense days.”
“From a spectator perspective, it’s certainly going to be an amazing show. I think fans of all sports will be in for a treat when they come down to TAIC and check out games and the remarkable talent on display.”
The FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup runs from Wednesday, September 27 to Saturday, October 1 and will be held at the Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre in Port Moresby.