The National- Monday, January 24, 2011
By KEVIN TEME
THE PMMI Papuan Blacks made a big improvement from a 30-point loss to champion NCD side Exodus eight weeks a go to go down 106-102 yesterday.
Blacks, a PNG development side, will take part in the Far North Queensland All Stars basketball challenge in Cairns this weekend a powerful Exodus side in the PMMI Port Moresby Invitational tournament held at the Sir John Guise Indoor stadium.
The tournament started last Friday night with a Lae side and Tubusereia coming on board to compete making for an entertaining three days.
Lae stood out belting Tubusereia 82-54 in the opening encounter yesterday.
But the most entertaining show was the game between Exodus and the Blacks which kept fans on their toes as the game went right down to the wire with both teams exchanging basket for basket through out the competitive match.
Exodus had current PNG representatives in the Muri brothers Apia, Dia, Purari and skipper Peter Davani while Tamaraws recruit Joe Elavo beefed up the team which looked like an unofficial PNG national side.
Despite that the young guns from the Blacks gave the champions a run for their money until the dying stages when Exodus bench Raymond Elai proved a handful with his three pointers.
Elai showed steely nerves sinking crucial baskets as the game lay in the balance.
Blacks were leading 102-100 with 51 seconds on the shot clock when he moved in to score a three-pointer.
With Exodus grabbing the lead 103-102 both sides lifted for their final plays.
Blacks have themselves to blame with key players Robert Kave,Tony Blan and Sibona Kala skating on thin ice with officials leaving the inexperienced Blacks exposed at the crucial final stage.
Exodus benefited from the fouling Blacks and Apia made sure of the three easy free throws the giving Exodus the victory.
Blacks coach Ferdinand Daroya was a happy man after the final hooter saying his young side had improved a lot.
“We were beaten 30 points in our last game against Exodus and coming out like this against a team made up of national players is a milestone and our boys did well.
“I am proud of them,” Daroya said.
Blacks team manager Sere Kala paid the same sentiment saying the boys did well and are all looking forward to the FNQ tournament this weekend.
The Blacks leave for Cairns on Thursday.