PNG face Fiji for top spot in basketball


PAPUA New Guinea faces Fiji for top spot in pool B of the Pacific Games men’s basketball competition the Faleata Gym Apia, Samoa today.
Both sides are unbeaten with two wins each and the winner will take on pool A’s runner-up in the medal playoffs.
PNG will rely on their 2015 Pacific Games combination of Wright brothers Lloyd and Liam, Aaron Farmer and Marty Leahy, Apia Muri, Robert Kave and Moses Lune and captain Charles Parapa.
These players have matured and improved over the years as a team and will look to give the Games silver medalists (2015) a strong challenge.
Youngsters Cornelius Muri has surprised of the bench with his poise and has outshone the team’s other rookies Anderson Hewe and James Banduru Jr on both ends of the court.
Coach Joel Khalu is expected to use Hewe and Banduru to complement the work of leader Charles Parapa and Apia Muri with defence to be the side’s key to overcoming their Melanesian rivals.
Fiji have the talented Whippy brothers Marques and Leonard to lead their charge; the form of the Fox brothers Conrad and Joshua has also seen them as contenders for the gold medal but Khalu’s men stand in their way.
Physically the Fijians are the taller side and will use that advantage by dominating the paint and drawing defenders and setting effective picks while posing a constant threat on for offensive rebounds.
PNG’s sharp-shooters will likely need to score consistently from three-point land and work plays that force the pace and tire out the opposition.
Coach Joe Khalu said the team’s collective defence ability would keep them in the game and their effort in the final quarter would give the best chance for victory.

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