29 Nov 2013

Sport: Oceania champs a steep learning curve for Pacific basketball teams

12:20 pm on 29 November 2013

The Papua New Guinea teams had a tough start to their Oceania Pacific Basketball Championship campaign with only a few hours rest before playing their first game.

Teams from eight countries are playing in the tournament which began in Porirua, New Zealand on Thursday.

The PNG men were thrashed 35-93 by a classy Australian side first up and coach Joel Khallou says transport problems mean they were only in the country for about 10 hours before going out on court.

"So we were supposed to arrive at midnight, we got in at about 1am. Then by the time we got our buses and headed to the accommodation we had some bus trouble - bus breakdown - so we never got into the hotel until about half past three this morning, which is a bit brutal, but it's all a part of the fun I guess."

Meanwhile the New Caledonia team is using the tournament to build for the future.

The men's team opened with a narrow 47-40 loss to Fiji while the women's team also lost to Fiji 48-21.

Spokesperson Thierry Durand says this competition will be tough for the New Caledonia players, many of whom are attending their first international tournament.

It's a young team. It's not the team who won the silver medal in the Pacific Game in Noumea. It's another team, younger, and they're here to play and try to prepare [for] the 2015 Pacific Games.

In other results from day one, Samoa's men and women lost to New Zealand Maori and Tahiti, the Guam men beat Tahiti 76-60 and their women were annihilated 97-6 by Australia.