Captain Muri Aiming to Finish Hoops Career on a High
PepsiPNG Men’s National Basketball Team Captain Dia Muri is aiming to finish his prestigious hoops career on a high. The 34-year old veteran recently announced that he will be retiring from international play, following the 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup.
Muri’s representative basketball career has spanned fourteen impressive years, with the 196cm forward first representing the country at the 2003 Pacific Games in Fiji. He also competed in 2011 at New Caledonia before suiting up in the red, black & gold for a third occasion in 2015, this time in Port Moresby.
Known for being an unselfish, ‘pass-first’ team player, Muri’s impressive skills earned him selection as a FIBA Oceania All Star in 2003 and at the time, played matches against future NBA players Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills in Canberra, Australia.
Reflecting on his career, Muri said he was humbled to have the opportunity to represent his country over such a long period of time.
“Some people never get that chance, so I feel very blessed to have played for PNG for as long as I have.”
“Growing up all I wanted to do was play in the Pacific Games. That was the ultimate goal and I was fortunate enough to do that three times.”
“I still remember my first games in 2003 and that feeling in Fiji,” Muri added.
“The best experience was 2015 though and playing at home. The atmosphere was unbelievable.”
Muri said expectations for this year’s national team were high leading into the Melanesia Cup and he thinks the side has a realistic shot of winning a gold medal.
“The core group of guys from 2015 are still involved and that’s positive,” Muri said.
“We know each other better, have a good understanding of our combinations and roles and that helps with teamwork.”
“We also have a really good mix of versatile players who can play multiple positions, so that makes us tough at both ends of the floor.”
Muri has just one thing left to accomplish as a player.
“It’s my final games, in my home country, I want to go out as a winner, with a gold medal.”
The 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup presented by Paradise Beverages commences on Wednesday, September 27 at the Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre (TAIC). The PepsiPNG Men’s National Team open the tournament with a first-round matchup against the Solomon Islands at 7pm.