FIBA officially announces host and dates for the FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup - 3 days ago
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The FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup will see the best teams from the region battle it out for their chance at glory by claiming the coveted Melanesian Cup and earning their spot in the Pacific Games Basketball Tournament. The FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup is one of the three new Oceania sub-zone competitions comprising of the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian regions. Papua New Guinea will play host to Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from the 24th of September to the... [read more]
The FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup will see the best teams from the region battle it out for their chance at glory by claiming the coveted Melanesian Cup and earning their spot in the Pacific Games Basketball Tournament. The FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup is one of the three new Oceania sub-zone competitions comprising of the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian regions. Papua New Guinea will play host to Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from the 24th of September to the 1st of October, 2017. As part of FIBA's new competition system, the Oceania region will be hosting these championships in every sub-zone for the first time ever. Micronesia leads the way as the only sub-zone to have previously hosted competition. 'This [sub-zones] has been spoken about for a number of years,' said FIBA Oceania President, Burton Shipley. 'The benefits of more competition for our National Federations will be for all to see in the coming years. With FIBA's New Competition System starting later this year for Men now is the perfect time to introduce this new sub-zone tournament. I want to thank PNG for putting their hand up to run this tournament for Melanesia.' Papua New Guinea has a proven track record hosting events with the very successful 2015 Pacific Games being held in Port Moresby. 'It's shaping up to be a massive year for PNG Basketball, especially with us hosting the inaugural FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup,' commented Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea Executive Officer, Joel Khalu. 'We'll need to make sure our national teams are well equipped to do battle on-court against Fiji, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.' 'We are excited for PNG to host the first Melanesian Basketball Cup in September this year,' added FIBA Oceania Executive Director, David Crocker. 'PNG have a fantastic facility and cohort of volunteers from the 2015 Pacific Games who are all eager to contribute to another international event.' The inclusion of sub-zone competition offers greater preparation opportunities for national teams. 'This event provides National Federations with another opportunity for their best players to come together and compete as a team at the highest level,' said Crocker. 'With a spot in the 2019 Pacific Games on the line, the cup is sure to be fiercely contested' The stakes are very high for the Melanesian Cup as the top three (3) teams from the tournament will represent their region at the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga. From this event the top two (2) teams will qualify to the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers. These two teams will start their 2025 FIBA Asia Cup qualifying campaign during the 2023 qualification windows. On the Women's side, the top two (2) teams from the 2019 Pacific Games will qualify for the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021 - Level II. With the inclusion of FIBA's new competition system and sub-zone cups, basketball fans around the world will be exposed to more national level basketball than ever before. Courtesy of: fiba.com
Leahy plays with Papua New Guinea pride while adjusting to life as a Hilltopper - 10 days ago
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Marty Leahy(196-G) admits it has been adjustment playing college basketball, in the United States, at the highest level. 'Coming in I'd never versed players as big as here,' he said. 'Not only are they that big, but they're able to do stuff and are really fit and athletic. Whereas in Australia, if you see someone that big, they're just some lanky kinda guy that's not gonna do much. 'So at first it was kinda hard adjusting on defense and playing to the faster game. But I think it's getting... [read more]
Marty Leahy (196-G) admits it has been adjustment playing college basketball, in the United States, at the highest level. 'Coming in I'd never versed players as big as here,' he said. 'Not only are they that big, but they're able to do stuff and are really fit and athletic. Whereas in Australia, if you see someone that big, they're just some lanky kinda guy that's not gonna do much. 'So at first it was kinda hard adjusting on defense and playing to the faster game. But I think it's getting better. Now that I've adjusted I'm able to fit in as well.' Leahy is 9,000 away from home, battling his teammates for playing time, battling the opposition when the lights go on, battling homesickness and missing Brisbane, Australia. But through 16 games, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard has improved steadily. And he's only scratching the surface of his basketball acumen. 'I think I've just gotten tougher. Tougher to defend,' He said. 'I'm just a little bit quicker as well. I think I'm smarter, too. Just being able to read things that aren't right in front of you. There's a lot more going on than what you just have right in front of you and that's a lot different than what I'm used to for sure.' Leahy has played in every game for the Hilltoppers (9-7, 3-0 Conference USA), a team that has won five straight and hosts Old Dominion at 5 p.m. Saturday in E.A. Diddle Arena. He's only averaging two points per game in 10 minutes per contest, but has been a steady option off the bench for first-year coach Rick Stansbury. In Thursday's win against Charlotte, Leahy knocked down a 3 with 6:23 to play that drew WKU within 64-62 - a shot that kept the Tops close in a game that was hanging in the balance. 'There has been a lot of improvements,' said Leahy's mother - or mum - Theresa Leahy. 'I think it's the confidence, because having come from Australia, the way of playing is so different to what he plays here now. A lot of coaching the coaches have given him I think has given him a lot of confidence.' Theresa Leahy and John Leahy watched from Section 115 in E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday. They've been in the States on a four-week visit to watch their son live out his dream of playing college basketball. 'I don't recall there being any doubt in his mind about wanting to play here,' John said. 'Once he had the opportunity - I mean, he had been in discussion with quite a number of schools. But coach Stansbury came to him directly and I think he made the decision pretty quickly once we were able to check out the university as a university.' Marty, whose full first name is Matineng-iakah, began to develop his game - in part - from a happenstance decision to represent his mother's homeland of Papua New Guinea. He was contacted by coach Joel Khalu, along with a handful of other Australian players with Papua New Guinea roots, to play for the national team in the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Leahy averaged 14 points and eight rebounds for a PGN side that finished in fourth place.'I love Marty's versatility as a player,' Khalu told WBKO via email. 'With his combined speed, strength and skill set he can play a variety of positions at both ends of the floor. That combined with the fact that he works extremely hard and he's so coachable makes him a player that any coach would want as part of their program.' Leahy said he and his family would visit his mother's home country as a youth, but he didn't truly recognize the population's passion for the growth of basketball until the 2015 Pacific Games. The small island nation of about 7 million people gravitates more toward rugby and Australian rules football and cricket. Papua New Guinea lost its opener of the '15 games to New Caledonia, then beat American Samoa, Fiji and Nauru. Wins over Tahiti and Samoa before a loss to Guam put PNG in the semifinals where it was eliminated by Fiji. 'We had a little training camp in February and met once or twice as a team before actually playing the tournament,' Leahy said. 'Basketball is not a huge sport there but we had thousands of village people come out and watch us and it was so cool. They were crazy fanatics. 'They don't have too much, but they follow their sport like it's everything.' There's a chance Leahy could rejoin the team to play in the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga. 'Marty is a true-role model for the sport in PNG,' Khalu wrote. 'He became a cult hero with his dynamic play at the Pacific Games and now that he's continued on to play Division I college basketball in the U.S, that has only strengthened his profile even further. I know everybody involved with the sport in PNG is excited about his development and is looking forward to the next time they get to see him play in the Red, Black and Gold. 'The great thing about Marty is that he's not only an excellent basketball player and unselfish teammate, but he's an even better person.' Leahy, who grew up in Cairns, Australia, before moving to Brisbane, averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game for Ipswich Grammar School where he also played volleyball. He said around the age of 15 he began to organize his profile academically to align himself for the opportunity to play in the U.S. After mostly being in contact with Division II programs (Metro State in Denver and Maryville in Saint Louis to name a couple), Leahy began to get noticed from places like Arizona, Arizona State, Southern Illinois and California State Fullerton. He visited Western Kentucky in April and then signed with the program in May. Now, halfway through his first year in America, Leahy is only getting better and the Hilltoppers are beginning to put things together as a team. His family will have plenty to boast about when returning home. 'They've won every game since we've been here," John Leahy joked, "so I think that must have something to do with it.' Courtesy of: wbko.com
The Papua New Guinea Under 18 Men's National Basketball Team have split their two-game tour of Australia with one-win and one-loss. The visitors defeated the Cairns Stingers U18 representative team 80-62 on Sunday afternoon, before being outclassed by the Cairns Marlins U18 representative side, 99-58 on Monday night. In Sunday's matchup, PNG played to their potential putting on a 'run & gun' show in front of a large Fish Tank crowd. While the team excited spectators with their dynamic, of... [read more]
The Papua New Guinea Under 18 Men's National Basketball Team have split their two-game tour of Australia with one-win and one-loss. The visitors defeated the Cairns Stingers U18 representative team 80-62 on Sunday afternoon, before being outclassed by the Cairns Marlins U18 representative side, 99-58 on Monday night. In Sunday's matchup, PNG played to their potential putting on a 'run & gun' show in front of a large Fish Tank crowd. While the team excited spectators with their dynamic, offensive style of play, it was a solid second quarter defensive showing that helped the team race to a 36-23 halftime lead. The lead extended out to as many as 25-points throughout the third term, before the Stingers pegged it back to the final 18-point margin. PNG guard Moses Kairi showed his shooting quality, bagging 18-points including four long-range triples. Australian-based PNG rep Liam Wright also had a solid all-around performance with 19. In their second game, a slow start hurt the PNG side, with the Cairns Marlins jumping out to a 29-19 first quarter advantage. Australian U17 star Kody Stattman was dominant for the hosts, piling up 17-points in the opening stanza, including five three-pointers. The scoring spree continued in the second period, with the Marlins racing to a 50-31 halftime lead. On the back of a vocal PNG crowd, the visitors made a run reducing the lead down to 9-points midway through the third. It wasn't to be PNG's day however, with the Marlins holding strong, their depth and experience helping them seal the 41-point victory. Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) Chief Executive Officer Joel Khalu, who is also the PNG U18 Men's Head Coach said the games proved to be a valuable learning experience. 'In the opening match I thought we did a great job defensively, which led to a lot of fast-break opportunities,' Khalu said. 'We were able to get stops and rebound the basketball, which triggered our up-tempo style of play.' 'In the second game against some better opposition, we had a lot of defensive breakdowns and that hurt us early.' 'Once we got in that hole, it was always going to be a massive challenge to dig ourselves back out.' 'To the players' credit though, they never gave up and kept on fighting and it was pleasing to see that PNG passion and pride until the final siren.' 'The players learned a lot from both games and that is what this tour was all about, creating opportunities for our PNG players to get international experience and exposure.' Courtesy of: Federation of Papua New Guinea
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