Solomon beat reigning champs in FIBA Melanesia Cup upset

Max Grantham scored 23 points for Solomon Islands to overcome reigning champs Papua New Guinea 77-65 in a see-saw game on day one of the 2022 FIBA Melanesia Cup at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

The Solomon Islanders came out firing from the first whistle to win the first quarter 14-11, but PNG came back to win the second 24-23. Scores were leveled at 11-all in the third quarter before Grantham and Basia piled on the free throws in the final quarter to seal the upset victory for the eventual winners.

Grantham, 21, who plays for the Gold Coast rollers in Australia, and is one of the three overseas-based players on the Solomon side said they fought hard for the win.

“The boys put in a good effort. I think we wanted it a little bit more,” Grantham said. “We finished last the last time, so to come here and beat the top team is huge for the Solomons.”

On his form, Grantham felt that he could have done better.

“I think it could play a little better. I had a couple of turnovers and some missed shots, and I am glad it all worked out in the end. Everyone played their role, everyone played their part. We just played at our pace, played our own game, and do what we do.”

The same approach the side will observe when they take on the home side Fiji tomorrow.

Coach Moses Kivo said the win set the tone for the side in the tournament and particularly in the race for the two available spots in next year’s Pacific Games which Solomon will be hosting.

Meanwhile, Basia, 34, who plays for the Gunnerz in the Solomon Islands’ local league topped the game on rebounds (8), assists (5) and steals (6).

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