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Flames off to Solomons for friendly match

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Papua New Guinea Men’s Basketball League (PMBL) premiers, the Southern Flames, flew to Honiara on Monday for an international friendly match against the Solomon Islands national team.
Flames were undefeated champions of the semi-professional league and are leaving home for the first time since the club participated in PMBL in 2014.
The last time Solomon Islands and Flames met was after the 2015 Pacific Games where the men in red taught the visitors a lesson beating them 86-74.
“Yeah, it was a friendly match straight after the 2015 Pacific Games while waiting for their return to Solomon Islands and decided for a friendly match against us and we (Flames) beat them,” club president Kevin Teme said.
Teme said the trip was long overdue after PMBL never paid the club its prize money and also their funds to subsidise the trip which was the initial idea of the competition. “PMBL had no sponsor and that was their reason so they left out the idea of the champion team travelling out,” Teme said.
Teme said the Tamaraws were the first team to win the inaugural championship and travelled to Fiji with support from PMBL but that was not  for the Flames.
“I would like to thank Kutubu Security Service and Hekari Holding, particularly John Kapi Natto and wife Vonnie for making this possible for us,” Teme said.
In what will be a best of three series match,  homne team will come in full strength with their national side coached by an Australian while Flames by current women’s national team coach Moi Muri.
The team is dominated by current PNG men’s national side and this will be a preview of what these two countries will offer when the Melanesian Cup challenge kicks off on Sept 27 in Port Moresby.
The Flames return on Sept 4.

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