Muri hoping to end career on a high


The 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup which starts today will be the last international tournament for veteran Dia Muri, pictured.
Pepsi PNG men’s national basketball team captain Dia Muri is aiming to finish his career on a high.
The 34-year old veteran recently announced that he would be retiring from international games this year.
Muri’s representative basketball career spanned 14 years, with the 196cm forward first representing PNG at the 2003 Pacific Games in Fiji.
He also competed in 2011 in New Caledonia before suiting up in the red, black and gold for a third occasion at the 2015 Port Moresby Games.
Known for being an unselfish, ‘pass-first’ team player, Muri’s 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 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,” Muri said.
“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. 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 tournament, at home, I want to go out a winner, with a gold medal.”
Meanwhile, the PNG women have a daunting task against Pacific Games gold medalists Fiji in round one today.
Fiji are favourites for the women’s title ahead of hosts PNG, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.
It has been a two-year wait for PNG after the 2015 Pacific Games where they fell short, losing in the bronze medal playoff.
PNG has retained seven members of the 2015 squad in recently appointed captain Marcia Muri, Betty Angula, Emily Koivi, Mary Elavo Junior, Nester Sape, Cindy Elavo and 19-year-old Rosa Kairi.
Fixtures: Wed, Sept 27 – (Women) Solomon Is v New Caledonia 1pm, PNG v Fiji 3pm, (Men) Fiji v New Caledonia 5pm, PNG v Solomon Is 7pm.

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