Team Guam won the hearts of the fans - then won the gold. Playing in front of a packed house chanting 'Gu-wam, Gu-wam,' the Guam men's national basketball team defeated Fiji 78-61 to claim the gold medal in a talent-packed field of teams. The victory ends a 36-year drought in which Guam has made numerous gold medal games, but was unable to come out the victor. That victory came in 1979 at the South Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji. With big-man Tai Wesley (200-F-86, college: Utah St.) in foul... [read more]
Team Guam won the hearts of the fans - then won the gold. Playing in front of a packed house chanting 'Gu-wam, Gu-wam,' the Guam men's national basketball team defeated Fiji 78-61 to claim the gold medal in a talent-packed field of teams. The victory ends a 36-year drought in which Guam has made numerous gold medal games, but was unable to come out the victor. That victory came in 1979 at the South Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji. With big-man Tai Wesley (200-F-86, college: Utah St.) in foul trouble, team captain William Stinnett (186-G-86, college: Wenatchee Valley CC) carried more of the offensive load with 18 points - the most he's scored all tournament. Teammate Joe Blas led all scorers with 21 points. Guam was able to fight off an imposing Fiji team that used three players over 6'4' to start the match. The strategy frustrated Guam's players as the Fijians would feed the ball to Marques Whippy (193-PF-86, college: BYU-Hawaii), Joshua Fox (198-F) or Mataika Koyamainavura who used their height to attack the rim. Guam head coach Edward Calvo countered that attack inserting Jonathan Galloway into the lineup. Galloway's defense forced Fiji to alter shots under the rim and kick the ball out - or get blocked. Guam built a 10-point lead at halftime and maintained a 51-44 lead prior to the start of the final quarter. And although they built up a 14-point lead with just five minutes to go, the Fijians were never truly out of the match until JP Cruz hit the last of his four three-pointers to lead 66-49 with 3:50 left on the clock. With just 2:03 left in the match, Galloway put an exclamation point on the victory with an alley-oop dunk from Wesley that brought the crowd to its feet and the game out of reach at 70-55. 'Three and a half years working out and it all paid off,' said assistant coach Danny Payumo. 'This was the goal. Thanks for all the support, from all the wives and all the girlfriends that stood by this team, all the family members. But really, a lot of it goes to their wives and girlfriends who put up with a lot of time being spent on the basketball court and putting in the work.' The win was one that they could be proud of, said Guam National Olympic Committee President Rick Blas. 'These guys worked real hard for it and I'm very proud of them. They stayed in it and stayed focused,' he said. 'Everyone played their hearts out and they deserve this win.' Blas said it was one of the biggest moments for the island, because so many times Guam got so close, but fell short. 'With Jonathan and Tai complimenting the rest of the team, they did really well. I'm proud of them - especially for Seve (Susuico) - his father was in the '75 team (on Guam) and now he's taken over.' It was a long road back to the gold after finishing in second too many times, according to Susuico. 'I've got three silvers now and one gold,' said Susuico. 'It's the best feeling ever! It feels good to be on this side and not on that side over there for once. It's the best feeling in the world. Now me and my Dad have three golds - we're even now.' According to Edward Calvo , the team was prepared for a dogfight with Fiji and wasn't going to relax down the stretch. 'We knew the first half was going to be tight. (Fiji) was in the gold medal match for a reason, so we weren't expecting to run away with the game - we knew it was going to be a grind,' he said. 'We weren't worried if we were down by a few points, or up by a few points, we just wanted to continue executing.' Edward Calvo reminded his team that they had to come out with more conviction after the first half, because Fiji put Guam on the ropes in their earlier match, which Guam won by overtime 75-72. 'When we finally went on a real run in the third quarter, we were able hold it this time. That was the main thing. They came back on us earlier in the tournament and we didn't want that to happen again.' The win has a special place in Edward Calvo 's heart - Edward Calvo was on the 2007 team that lost to Fiji in Noumea, New Caledonia. 'They beat us in the gold so this win is a great feeling. There are some guys on this team that have lost three gold medal games in the past and we finally won one. It puts Guam basketball on the next level of FIBA qualifiers, so we're ready for what comes next.' For now, the players will enjoy the win and bring the gold medal back to the island and its people, according to Susuico. 'This was for the people of Guam. Everything we do is for the people of Guam, he said. Courtesy of: guampdn.com
Day 6 Results from Pacific Games in PNG - 2 Years ago
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Kiribati defeated Nauru 78-72
Both teams were evenly matched going into this game but Kiribati shooting percentage throughout the game was just a little bit better giving them the edge of Nauru. Top scorer for Kiribati was #7 Biremon Taakam who had an outstanding game with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Nauru's top scorer was #13 Marcus Detenamo with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Nauru and Kiribati are in Pool BB playing off for final seeding from 5-9.
New Caledonia defeated Solomon Isl... [read more]
Kiribati defeated Nauru 78-72 Both teams were evenly matched going into this game but Kiribati shooting percentage throughout the game was just a little bit better giving them the edge of Nauru. Top scorer for Kiribati was #7 Biremon Taakam who had an outstanding game with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Nauru's top scorer was #13 Marcus Detenamo with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Nauru and Kiribati are in Pool BB playing off for final seeding from 5-9.
New Caledonia defeated Solomon Islands 90-70 New Caledonia came out strong at the start of the game and it looked like it was going to be a thrashing but to the Solomon Islands credit they didn't drop their heads. Waige Turueke was 9/15 from behind the arc with a game high 29 points trying to keep them in the game but unfortunately the Solomon's turned the ball over 28 times giving New Caledonia more scoring opportunities. New Caledonia was led by captain #13 Rodrigue Tetainanuarii with 19 points. New Caledonia, gold medallist from 2011 after the elimination from the medal contention will be out to win group BB standings from 5-9.
Samoa defeated American Samoa 77-71 First game of the day in Pool AA with the top 6 teams from the first round of game starting the new round faze this game with the healthy rivalry between these two countries only a 30 plane ride from each other was going to be a close one. Samoa's size didn't seem to deter American Samoa who won the rebounding category but Samoa's shooting percentage from the foul line gave them the edge. American Samoa will need to regroup to stay in the hunt for a medal. Samoa was led by #6 Sapeti Tufuga with 20 points and American Samoa was led by #44 Frankie Sefulu Eteuati with 16 points.
Guam defeated Fiji 75-72 What a finish to a fantastic game with Tai Tai Wesley (200-F-86, college: Utah St.) hitting a 3 with 2.3 seconds left on the clock in overtime. Fiji had the lead seconds before the final whistle but Tai Tai Wesley was able to score a lay up to tie the game. Five minutes of extra time saw the lead change a number of times with the crowd getting their money's worth. The home side wasn't playing but the crowd were amazing cheering on both teams equally, and enjoying the amazing talent that was on the floor. Guam were led by #42 Tai Wesley with 30 points and 19 rebounds having an outstanding game giving him a double double for his second game of the competition only joining the team on Monday. #12 Joshua Fox for Fiji scored 20 points for the game with 7 rebounds.
PNG defeated Tahiti 81-70 And the home side does it again in an outstanding game defeating Tahiti 81-70. The game was tight for the first half with Tahti having a 2 point lead at half time then going up by at least 12 points in the third quarter. Coach Khalu was able to get the best out of his players last night and #7 Gabriel Elavo was able to deliver hitting 5 from 6 from behind the 3 point line giving him a team high 19 points at a remarkable shooting percentage of 70%; he made 7 of his 10 shots. He was supported by Aron Farmer also with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Tahiti were probably the favourites going into this game led by #5 Ariirimarau Meuel with 29 pints and 8 rebounds but they could not hold off a very determined PNG with the support from over 2000 people at the Taurama Aquatic Centre. Courtesy of: Pacific Games
Solomon Islands defeated Kiribati 94-57
Solomon Islands got their first win on the board with a convincing victory over Kiribati. The Solomon's team had great size and speed which was too much for the undersized Kiribati team. Led by Alex Masaea with 31 points the Solomon Islands shot exceptionally well from the 3 point line making 13 from 25 and winning the rebounding stat with a total of 48 rebounds. Coach Topue was able to get his bench on the floor spreading out the minutes to all... [read more]
Solomon Islands defeated Kiribati 94-57 Solomon Islands got their first win on the board with a convincing victory over Kiribati. The Solomon's team had great size and speed which was too much for the undersized Kiribati team. Led by Alex Masaea with 31 points the Solomon Islands shot exceptionally well from the 3 point line making 13 from 25 and winning the rebounding stat with a total of 48 rebounds. Coach Topue was able to get his bench on the floor spreading out the minutes to all 12 of his players which will help with recovery when they take on Samoa in the 3pm game tomorrow at the Taurama Aquatic Centre. Kiribati was led by Choi Being Yeeting with 16 points. They will need to regroup quickly because they take on the Guam team in tomorrow's 5pm game.
American Samoa defeated Nauru 94-55 The first 2 quarters were tight for both teams with American Samoa going into the half time break with a 5 point lead 35-30. The momentum changed in the 3rd quarter with the American Samoa's pressing up the floor to create turnovers. Led by Veresa Luvu Jr who finished the game with 4 steals and the team ending the game with a total of 21. They were able to convert on 34 of the 39 steals which was a big factor in the 39 point win. Top scorer for American Samoa was #5 Pele Tui with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Nauru was led by #8 Joeson Heine Kanimea with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Nauru were able to stick with American Samoan's for the first half of the game but unfortunately the turnover column and the rebounding column were not in their favour. They will have to work on boxing out to come up with the ball first and then be able to take care of the ball once they have possession. Both teams have tough games tomorrow morning with Nauru taking on New Caledonia in the first game of the day at 9am and the American Samoan's meeting Fiji after Fiji's 1 point loss to host country PNG. American Samoa will need to be ready for a very physical and fast game.
Tahiti def Samoa 87-59 Tahiti have kept their perfect record in tact, defeating Samoa comfortably by 28 points. Scores were tight at the end of the first quarter, with Tahiti up by just 2, but an early run of baskets in the 2nd quarter created a comfortable lead for the Tahitians and they were never headed. Tahiti's greater depth was the difference, with the team sharing minutes and getting 35 points off their bench. Conversely, Samoa had 3 players playing over 30 minutes and had just 6 points from their bench players. Tahiti Captain Ariirimarau Meuel once again led the way for his team, scoring 21 points, but he was ably supported with 4 others scoring in double digits. Samoa now move to 1-2, with their final match against Solomon's to secure their place in the top 6 group. They will be hoping for more performances from Theodore McFarland like the one they got today, with McFarland scoring 17 points and 11 rebounds to record his first double-double of the tournament. Tahiti should remain undefeated and finish top of Group A, as they take on Kiribati in their final match on Tuesday.
PNG def Fiji 75-73 In what was no doubt the match of the day, some clutch free throws from Apia Muri and Matineng Matiineng-Iakah Leahy (190-G/F-97) have secured home team PNG's second win of the tournament. In front of a sold out crowd, the PNG boys held their nerve in the final few seconds to get the win. Fiji will be left wondering what if, with a number of key players in foul trouble early in the last quarter, PNG opened up a 12 point lead. However, Fiji did not give up without a fight, and took the lead with a huge three pointer from Mataika Koyamainavure with 40 seconds to go. PNG were unable to score from the next play and it looked as though Fiji would steal the win, before an unfortunate ball-handling error from Fiji captain Leonard Whippy (180-G-82, college: BYU-Hawaii) saw PNG with one final play to win the game. Step up Apia Muri to sink 2 free throws and get PNG back in the lead. It was a big win for the home team, as it now leaves Fiji, PNG and New Caledonia with a 2-1 record, with American Samoa snapping at their heels with 1 win and 1 loss. With a passionate crowd behind them, these PNG boys are looking like they will make a serious run at that gold medal if they can keep playing with this much passion and emotion. After sitting out game 2 in a moon boot, it was good to see Aron Farmer playing big minutes again. For Fiji, they will take confidence in their ability to get back into the game and will still play a major factor in the results come the end of the tournament. Courtesy of: Pacific Games
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