Pepes go down fighting

Sports
Ligo, Gulo Vui make debuts and Vali injures knee in loss to Cook Islands
PNG Pepes captain Courtney Abel during the opening ceremony of the M1 Nations Cup at Singapore’s OCBC Arena on Sunday.

A YOUTHFUL Papua New Guinea Pepes outfit went down 34-62 against M1 Nations Cup defending champions Cook Islands in Singapore yesterday.
Central youngsters Alexandria Ligo and Alu Gulo Vui made their Pepes debuts in the 13th edition of the tournament at OCBC Arena.
The Pepes – led by skipper Courtney Abel – managed to keep up with the Cook Islands, who took a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
However, the Cook Islands began to pull away in the second quarter before securing a 28-point victory against Ani Iamo’s Pepes.The quarter-time scores were 12-9, 30-16, 47-25 and 62-34 — all in favour of the Cook Islands. Isabella Roakeina was named player of the match for the Pepes.
Fourteen-year-old Ligo was put on in the second quarter and started strongly against a defensive Cook Islands outfit. Gulo Vui got get her chance in the third quarter but by then, the match had already been lost.
Early in the quarter, star defender Ravusiro Vali injured her knee. She was replaced by Japerth Tulapi who defended valiantly with Courtney Abel.
Meanwhile, the Pepes lost 38-41 to Ireland in their opener on Sunday.
The Pepes, who finished runners up in their two previous appearances at the Nations Cup in 2015 and 2016, led Ireland by seven goals after the first quarter but faded in the final three periods.
Abel said the current squad was new to international level.
“This team is different in that we’ve got about three players who are over the age of 21, so it’s a very young team,” she said.
“Coming to this tournament is about getting them exposed to this level of netball.”
The Oct 20-26 tournament features Botswana, Ireland, Namibia, Singapore and the Cook Islands.
The Pepes next play Botswana at 5pm (PNG time) today.

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