The National, Thursday February 27th, 2014
By JACK AMI
THERE is no guarantee that players who have been part of the Oceania Pacific Basketball championships this year are automatic selections for next year’s Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Players have to earn the places through hard work over the next few months.
That is the word from Basketball Federation Papua New Guinea president Nick Daroa.
He stressed yesterday that toil, commitment and consistent performance would be the key for players aiming for represntative honours.
Selections for the spots on offer in both the men’s and women’s squads would be based on merit and not reputation or past performances.
Daroa reminded players who were part of the squad to the Oceania Pacific Championship in Porirua, New Zealand, in November that they were not automatic selections for 2015. He said selectors were aware that players were starting to step up and regardless of how many years they had played or whether they had represented the country before form would be one of the main criteria in deciding which players made the final cut.
Several youngsters had improved over the last two seasons that picking a side for the Pacific Games was not straight forward.
“All the spots are still up for grabs with the younger players threatening older ones,” he said.
Daroa said players like 22-year-old Gabriel Elavo and other youngsters have equal opportunity to secure Pacific Games slots.
He said all the players have to really fight for each of the the 12 spots on offer for the men’s and women’s teams.
He said training camps and international matches were aimed at developing the players to be competitive.
The majority of the men’s and women’s players were selected from the PNG Men’s Basketball and Port Moresby Women’s Basketball Leagues.
Team PNG has played second fiddle to American Samoa, Guam, Tahiti, Fiji and Samoa in past games and the federation wants to change that in front of the home crowd.
Daroa thanked companies like City Pharmacy Ltd and National Government for making it possible for them to pursue their development programmes in preparation for next year’s games.