Solomon Islands’ hopes of qualifying for the 2023 Pacific Games which they will be hosting was cut short by New Caledonia in a one-sided affair today, with scores ending 38-98 to the latter’s favour in the final day of pool games of the FIBA Melanesia Cup 2022 at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.
The New Caledonians dominated the encounter from the start, built a formidable lead to end the first quarter 37-12, stretch their lead further 24-7 in the second quarter, 16-8 in the third quarter before wrapping up the game with a 21-11 victory in the final quarter, with Ethaniel Fenuafanote amassing the most points for the winners with 21 from seven two pointers, two three-pointers, and a free throw.
Despite the loss and not making the PG 2023 cut, Solomon men’s coach Moses Kivo spoke highly of his team which comprises a mix of new and experienced players making special mention of their upset win over the reigning champions Papua New Guinea on day one of the tournament.
“This is a young team. We do not have a league at home, they just trained and came, this is our first competition. Losing out is a big challenge. We have to go back and prepare as hosts,” he said.
“That said I am proud of these boys. They put in a big effort to play against other countries. The win over Papua New Guinea is one of the highlights for us, and we hope that will encourage businesses to support us.”
Meanwhile, their women’s team was unlucky as well, losing 38-69 to their New Caledonian counterparts earlier in the day.