31 Oct 2022

New Caledonia fly out of blocks to secure Melanesian Cup

12:03 pm on 31 October 2022

Photo: FIBA

New Caledonia were crowned Melanesian basketball Cup champions at the weekend after defeating Papua New Guinea in the final in Suva.

New Caledonia flew out of the blocks finishing the first quarter with a 25-point led that they built on to win 87-57.

"I am really proud of the team, we worked really hard, and I believe we showed that on the court today," star player Jo Delaunay-Belleville told the FIBA website.

"In 2017 we lost twice to Papua New Guinea, so it was nice to finally win in the final today."

Fiji defeated Solomon Islands, 67-53 to win bronze.

Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia will now join current Micronesian Cup winners Guam as qualifiers for the Pacific Games 2023 in Solomon Islands.

The top two teams from the Polynesian Cup 2022 will also qualify.

The tournament All-Star Five line-up has been named with each country represented in the line-up.

Max Grantham - Solomon Islands

The second top performer in Solomon Islands, leading scorer with an average of 13, 21-year-old Grantham (below) made himself known at the Melanesian Cup. His drive to the rim and pace running the ball made him a dangerous asset for teams to shut down.

Photo: FIBA

Jo Delaunay-Belleville - New Caledonia

The New Caledonian point guard was again prolific throughout the tournament and finished as the second top performer of the tournament, leading the assists with an average of four per game. He was the top performer, points scorer and led assists for his team.

Apia Muri - Papua New Guinea

Mirroring his efforts from the 2017 edition of the Cup, the PNG captain led his team to another final. He finished the tournament with an average of 14.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Joshua Fox - Fiji

The Fiji captain finished as the top performer of the tournament, leading the way as the number one player for rebounds, averaging 12.3 per game. His leadership on and off the court is immeasurable, with him also finishing as Fiji's leading points scorer with an average of 12.5.

Raymond Webber - New Caledonia

The powerful forward finished the event as his team's second top performer, with an average of 9 points and 6.7 rebounds. His height under the rim was advantageous and played a pivotal part in their gold medal victory.

Fiji win women's event

After falling short in 2017, Fiji have redemption, defeating Papua New Guinea to win gold in Suva.

The Fijian Women flew out of the blocks in the gold medal match against the defending Melanesian Cup Champions. At half time the Fijians led by 21, and they did not look back with the final score 71-38.

"There are no words, to be able to win this at home in front of our family and friends, it's just so special," Letava Whippy said.

"After the last Melanesian Cup, we had a little bit to prove to ourselves and in front of our home crowd. We came out knowing it wasn't going to be easy and we were going to have to fight from the beginning, no matter what the outcome, every game was a new beginning. We wanted to fight, fight, fight, we did that and came out with the win."

New Caledonia defeated Solomon Islands, 54-28 to win bronze.