The FIBA Melanesia Cup will feature the best teams from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands all vying for the chances to claim the converted Melanesian Cup.
Not only that, they will also battle it out to secure the top three positions to qualify them for the 2019 Pacific Games.
The FIBA Melanesian Basketball Cup is one of the three new Oceania sub-zone competitions comprising of the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian regions
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.
The Solomon Islands National Basketball team as part of their preparation has hosted international friendly matches with US Navy, New Zealand and Australia Navy during the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Spokesperson Uriel Matanani said the Solomon Islands squad is taking the tournament seriously.
He said the tournament is a qualification for the 2019 Pacific Games so they are not taking it lightly.
“We are currently training very hard with assistance of two volunteers from Australia.
“So far we have various international friendlies and we hope to have three more of these games before we head to Port Moresby,” he said.
Matanani said they are proposing for a friendly match with PNG Top Flight Basketball Club but that is still to be confirmed.
He said currently there are 20 players who are in the training squad.
Photo supplied. Caption: Solomon Islands Basketball team take on team from US, New Zealand and Australia Navy.