Our new Palau page has just opened today, extended our coverage of the Oceania region. Palau is a real force in the Micronesian zone, but still underachieved at the International level. Palau will host the South Pacific Mini-Games this summer, the most important basketball tournament of the year for FIBA Oceania.
Palau is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines. This westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. The Republic of Palau, also called Belau, became totally independent in 1993. There is around 20,000 palauans living in their country, the actual capital city is Koror but a new capital is being built about 20km northeast of Koror, on the country's mainland. In 2000, Palau has been awarded the rights to host the 2005 South Pacific Mini-Games, this would be the biggest sporting event in the country history so far.
Palau Men National Team only played twice in major Oceania events and they never were ridiculous with a 5-9 overall record in these tournaments! In its first tournament since the country became independent in 1993, Palau played the Oceania Tournament in Fiji the same year and claimed the country first-ever international victory with a 82-48 contest over the Cook Islands in a classification game. In 1999, Palau claimed the 8th spot with 14 teams.
The best results of the men team was during the 2000 Micronesian Games when the palauans snatched the Gold medal over Guam. Unfortunatly, they were unable to won another medal during the next Micronesian Games missing the semifinals twice in 2002 and 2004. There is some great players in this NT like Yutaka Gibbons Jr, who was voted to the All-Micronesian Games team in 2004, and Sunshine Soalablai.
The ladies played their first major international tournament in 1999 in Guam and clinched the 6th spot (from 11 teams) with an historical first-ever international victory over Vanuatu 64-55. Unfortunatly, they were unable to win a single game in Fiji four years later (0-6).
Like the men, the Palau women are a real force at the Micronesian standart. They reached the Micronesian Games Final game in the last three tournaments, claiming one Gold medal in 2002 with a 75-60 win over Marshall Islands. They won the Silver medal in 2000 and in 2004, both time Guam won the gold. In the 2004 Micronesian Games Stephanie Ngirchoimei was voted to the All-Tournament squad.
The Palau Basketball Federation (PBF) is holding several tournaments during the year. The main one on the ladies side is the WNBL, this league has its own All-Star game in April. The PBF also hosted an After-School program for elementary student this summer. Frank Kyota and Kazuki "Topps" Sungino are leading the PBF for years now, they are the heart and soul of basketball in this country.
Men National Team:
Yutaka Gibbons Jr
Coach: Topps Sungino
Men NT International records:
1999 - South Pacific Games (in Guam): 8th / 4-4 record
1993 - Oceania Tournament (in Samoa): 9th / 1-4 record
2004 - Micronesian Games: 5th / 1-3 record
2002 - Micronesian Games: 5th / 4-3 record
2000 - Micronesian Games: Gold medal (won over Guam in the final)
Women National Team: