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Palau is ready for the Mini-SPG - May 18, 2005

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In July, Palau will host the 2005 South Pacific Mini-Games, the major tournament in Oceania of the season. As host country, Palau will be able to enter a team in basketball event for the first time in six years. The only time the country had a team in basketball in the SPG was in 1999, placing seventh among 10 teams.


Palau isn't a stronghold in the South Pacific so a medal seems to be out of reach for the home team. But with the recent developments in the game and individual skills among the local players in the NBL, Palau may pull big surprises this time. The hosts are also banking on the home crowd advantage during the 11-day competition.
Chances are really good. They have been trying really hard to improve their skills during practices,” said Kazuki Topps Sungino, Palau National Olympic Committee basketball development officer, who is supervising the tryouts for the national team. “The six-month preparation is just enough for the team to make a good showing,” Sungino said, referring to the daily practices of the 30 players, who were selected from the different teams from the NBL.
The tryouts started in January 19. With three months left before the competition, Sungino said that the team’s focus is to practice hard for the games. But he could not guarantee anything when asked of their chances. The number will be trimmed down to 16 in June and the final cut of 12 will be known in early July.
We will just give 110 percent of our effort,” Sungino said, adding that they are aware of the tougher competition ahead.
Because of this, Sungino said that Palau players must join a tough competition here before the Games to test their mettle. In this way, the players would be able to evaluate themselves against tough players from other teams. Since taller players from the teams like new Caledonia will be coming for the Mini SPG, he said he will rely on the team’s speed. Running game is Palau’s strongest point.


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