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FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament: recap - Nov 3, 2006

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In New Zealand, Fiji made a good pool phase in the FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament but was not playing at the same level in the playoffs. After a devastating loss to Tahiti, Fiji ended at the 6th place. A real disapointement for a team who managed to defeat the Bronze medal winner New Caledonia.

Since the Whippy and Wesley brothers are too old, Fiji has to find new leaders for its youth teams. Some players were really noticeable in this year's roster like the PG Erwin Hussain (G) or the inside duo made of Isikeli Mara (202-C) and Jesoni Kuruyawa (F). As usual with the fijian teams, confidence and focus are two though things to find. After a good pool phase, the team chemistry disappeared. This is not new for Fiji, the senior team experienced the same thing in the past like for example in the 2003 South Pacific Games. The fijians coaches really needs to work on that and teach their players to stay focus until the final game.
A 41-point loss to Tahiti and a 22-point loss to Guam are not logical results for such a good team. But the future looks bright anyway for this team before the 2007 South Pacific Games where Fiji should be able to put on a solid team, hopefully with all the best players available, and this time Fiji should play at 100% during the entire tournament.

Fiji - New Zealand: 49-124
A tough loss to start the tournament against the host nation en-route to the Gold medal. The teams were not playing on the same level but despite this huge loss, Erwin Hussain made a good game.
Stats: Erwin Hussain 17pts 6/14FG 5rbs, Isikeli Mara 9pts 4/18FG 13rbs, Jesoni Kuruyawa 7pts 3/5FG 5rbs

Fiji - New Caledonia: 87-76
With this win, Fiji almost secured the second place in the pool. That was the best game for the fijian during the tournament thanks to a great offensive performance from Erwin Hussain.
Stats: Erwin Hussain 26pts 11/24FG 7rbs 5ast, Tu'I Sikivou 15pts 6/10FG 7rbs, Jesoni Kuruyawa 14pts 7/9FG 8rbs

Fiji - Papua New Guinea: 85-65
A pretty easy win to close the pool phase over the papuans. Erwin Hussain stepped back in this game and let his teamates shined like the 202-cm center Isikeli Mara.
Stats: Isikeli Mara 21pts 10/13FG 11rbs 2bs, Jesoni Kuruyama 19pts 8/16FG 11rbs, Andrew Paris 11pts 4/8FG 4rbs

Pool Standing:
1- New Zealand
2- Fiji
3- New Caledonia
4- Papua New Guinea

Fiji - Tahiti: 54-95
A very disapointing game for the fijians after a brilliant pool phase. The team was hold to 24.0%FG but a good tahitian defense and recorded one of their worst loss in the country history. Isikeli Mara was the only player able to get something done with 21pts 9rbs and 6bs but his teamates were helpless.
Stats: Isikeli Mara 21pts 9/18FG 9rbs 6bs, Erwin Hussain 8pts 1/15FG 5rbs, Jesoni Kuruyawa 5pts 1/11FG 12rbs 5ast

Fiji - Papua New Guinea: 85-77
Another bad game but the team was able to stay focus to avoid another embarassing loss. Isikeli Mara, Erwin Hussain and Andrew Paris combined for 62pts.
Stats: Isikeli Mara 23pts 8/22FG 14rbs 2bs, Erwin Hussain 16pts 7/21FG 6rbs 6ast, Andrew Paris 13pts 5/5FG

5th place game:
Fiji - Guam: 68-90
A disapointing game to close a disapointing tournament, the fijians were not playing at their best in the playoffs and seemed not motivated by the classification games. Fiji made a good opening quarter but was unable to stop the guameses in the rest of the game.
Stats: Erwin Hussain 17pts 7/17FG, Jesoni Kuruyawa 9pts 3/11FG 13rbs, Isikeli Mara 8pts 4/7FG 9rbs 2bs

Final Standings:
1- New Zealand
2- Australia
3- New Caledonia
4- Tahiti  

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