The National, Tuesday October 15th, 2013
By JACK AMI
PORT Moresby Reunion Souths (men’s) and Mount Hagen Welgris Souths (women’s) are the kings and queens of the National Souths Basketball League.
In the men’s division, Reunion beat Mount Hagen Usano 41-38 and Welgris ousted Nipa 36-31 in the women’s grade.
The new champions struggled to run out victors in the 40-minute showdown in front of a capacity crowd mostly from Southern Highlands.
The champion sides bagged the NSBL Shield and scooped K10,000 each for their efforts, while Mount Hagen Usano (men’s) and Nipa (women’s) settled for trophies and K5,000 each.
All the third placed teams received trophies and K1,000 each.
Major sponsor and Hekari owner John Kapi Natto and Kemele director Ps Isaac Joseph heralded the event as a great success.
Kapi Natto said it was worth spending money and resources on youth development as the young generation deserved community support.
The K60,000 budget was spent on administration, logistics, trophies and prizes.
This is the only basketball tournament that has prizes for the top three placings in the men’s and women’s division.
In the knockout stage, Reunion had to beat Tidua and 40-29, while Usano thumped Menjals 48-38.
The Port Moresby men had the reliable service of national training squad member Moses Lune and Men’s Basketball League suspended player Raymond Elai.
They called the shots early to lead the debutants overcome pressure from the Western highlanders engineered by the Salilum brothers – Tuki and Willie – with unknown Jimmy Wia.
Lune was voted the most valuable player of the tournament ahead of Elai but both were contributed effectively in the victory.
The game was deadlocked 24-24 at the interval but Reunion’s Adita Ais, who was in devastating form, neted 14 points to lead the scores for his team, while Willie (Salilum) chalked up 13 points and Wia 11.
In the women’s division, Welgris were stretched to the limit by the unknown Nipa side.
The Western Highlanders had Port Moresby-based representatives Betty Agula and Emily Koivi to thank for the win.
Agula was in the thick of action in all departments, setting and linking up well with her teammates.
Nipa had the Wong sisters – Grace, Betty and Hannah (Yala) – trying desperately against the experience of the duo up front.
Yala Kuwimb took the most valuable player award.
They were given a 30-minute break after their knockout 25-23 win against Pesaps.