Tahiti to face Guam in the Finals of the Basketball Men's Finals
Reihiti Sommers hit a cold-blooded triple at the buzzer to tow Tahiti to the Finals of the 2019 Pacific Game's Men's Basketball event and qualify to the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers after beating Fiji, 75-72.
Tahiti actually stared at a 69-72 deficit in the last minute before leaning on Ariirimarau Meuel and Sommers who drilled back-to-back triples to steal the game from the Fijians.
Meuel led the way for Tahiti with 26 points and four rebounds including a booming triple in the last 38 seconds to tie the game at 72-all.
Sommers finished with 11 markers two rebounds and three steals while Derrick Scott added 14 points.
With this victory, Tahiti has already surpassed its Bronze Medal finish in the 2015 Pacific Games, and advance to the Finals for the first time since 1995.
The top-two finish also secured Tahiti a spot in the prestigious FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.
Fiji's dream run came to an abrupt end despite an identical double-double outing of gunners Marques Whippy and Joshua Fox.
Whippy uncorked 21 points and 11 rebounds while Fox had 20 markers and 16 boards in the loss of Fiji.
Dynamic action at the Basketball as medal day approaches (Pacific Games News)
Meanwhile, Guam proved its lofty billing as the undisputed defending champion after dominating Papua New Guinea, 122-67, to seal its place anew in the finale of the 2019 Pacific Games.
Riding on the crest of its unbeaten run in the Group Phase, the reigning titlist Guam buried PNG in the first half alone with an emphatic 64-27 lead.
Guam now shifts its focus to Tahiti when they battle for all the marbles in the Pacific Games titular showdown.
Six players scored in double figures led by JP Cruz and Russel Wesley with 19 apiece for Guam which also clinched a seat in the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.
Tai Wesley, Jonathan Galloway, Takumi Simon, and Tomas Calvo also came up with 17, 14, 13 and 10 markers respectively.
Papua New Guinea was led by Marty Leahy and Moses Apiko who scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Amid the defeat, PNG has a chance to better its fourth-place finish in 2015 when it shoots for the Bronze Medal against Fiji in the battle for third-place.
New Caledonia edged out host Samoa, 84-82, to clinch the fifth spot of the quadrennial conclave.
Steevan Sillant and Beniela Adjouhgniope sizzled for the squad, coming up with 16 points apiece.
Rodrigue Tetainanauri also added 14 while Jo Delaunay-Belleville chipped in 12.
On the other hand, Theodore McFarland led the way for the Samoan in a foiled cause with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Devante Kail contributed 19 while Dru-Leo Leusogi Ape had 17 including the booming trey in the last two seconds to move Samoa into just 82-84 as time expired
This article is published from FIBA with permission.