The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
By KEVIN TEME
THE PMMI Papuan Blacks registered their first win since joining the annual event five years ago.
After narrowly going down 84-75 to Queensland Indigenous All Stars team last Friday, the Blacks defeated the U18 Queensland state champions, the North Queenslanders, 92 – 87 in an exciting game that went right down to the wire.
Far North Queensland Super League All Stars commissioner Joel Khalu said: “The Papuan Blacks made a huge step forward after five years of competing in this tournament.”
Blacks skipper Robert Kave scored four consecutive baskets in the painted area to kick start the first quarter with a 6-0 run followed by prolific guard Sibona Kala who hit the triple to go 11- 2 on the scoreboard.
North Queensland replied through Demertze and Osborne but could only muster 18 points as Blacks’ Tony Bland added four points to take the lead 28-18 in first quarter.
Kala picked up an early foul and backup guard Tony Haro came in with the same tempo, scoring eight baskets in the second quarter.
Haro got good support from James Ipassi.
But the never-say-die effort from North Queensland saw them outscore the Papuans 21-18 however, the PNG side held onto a seven thanks to their early first quarter work.
The half-time score was 46 – 39.
The Blacks held a comfortable 60-69 lead after the third quarter but had to weather a comeback in the fourth which saw the gap reduce to a mere point 77-76 at one stage before winning 92-87.
Kala was Blacks’ best top scoring with 35 points with 19 coming in the that frenzied fourth quarter.