Tonga Basketball team secures spot at 2019 Pacific Games
28 November, 2018, 1:21 am
NUKU’ALOFA, 28 NOVEMBER 2018 (TONGA WIRES) – The Tonga men’s national basketball team has defied all odds to qualify for the Pacific Games next year, after an 18-year absence from the game.
With a team of six players, FIBA.basketball reports that Tonga edged out American Samoa 79-77 to win bronze in Samoa last week. Tahiti, who were undefeated during the tournament, beat Samoa 77-73 to win Gold.
Tonga’s guard, Marcus Alipate was named as one of the Polynesian Cup All-Star five team at the closing ceremony.
Prior to the tournament, Tonga had almost pulled out of the tournament altogether when they didn’t have enough funds for accommodation.
With the help of social media, the plight of the Tongans reached the Pacific Rugby Player Welfare (PRPW) board members who donated the remaining funds they needed.
“There are only a few things you get to do in this life you can be proud of and one is representing your country in any shape and form and our team can tick that off our bucket list,” said team captain, Niasi Malua.
Niasi has been part of resurrecting the game in Tonga with the formation of the Iate Basketball Academy in 2015.
The team includes:
Marcus Alipate – Point Guard
Aminiasi Malua – Center
Viliami Taufa – Small Forward
Lopeti Piutau – Forward
Siale Bain-Vete – Point Guard
Obadaiah Paea – Guard.