Lenakel was more busy than ever with the hosting of the Tafea 2019 Provincial Games at Laminu Stadium last week (May 5th-11th). 12 sports disciplines featured in the competition's program, and so was 5x5 basketball.
Provincial teams such as Tafea, Sanma, Shefa, Malampa and the 2 Port-Vila and Luganville municipals' squad entered the competition (but Sanma's female's team).
Port-Vila came strong in their pools game against Shefa (47-31) to secure the first place of its pool on the men's side, and so was Sanma's team after its tough win to Malampa (51-43).
The runner up games between Shefa & Luganville (20-0 and Malampa & Tafea (47-37) leaded to the semi-finals the day after. Shefa cruised team Sanma (58-38), and Port-Vila showed no mercy to Malampa on the other side (53-18) to secure a remake of the pool's game vs Shefa.
And what a game. Physical, with some great defensive actions from both side. The 2 teams gave their best to that game and showed that they would play it easy to bring the gold back home. After a tied first-half, Shefa actually took the advantage in the 3rd quarter, to secure the final win (32-23).
The Bronze medal went to Sanma due to Malampa's forfeit for the bronze medal final.
"We are amazed with what we saw on the court" Sacha DUTHU, the National Basketball Development Officer, said. "The final's intensity and quality was beyond any basketball game that we have seen for a while" he added. "A lot of the players are part of the 3x3 National Squad, and we clearly could see that in terms of technics, conditioning and game's intelligence, they have came to another level know" he concluded.
On the women's side, Team Shefa faced no difficulties to secure the first place with a clean 4-0 record, while Port-Vila had to find the energy to come out from a very closed game to Tafea (38-32) to have the right to play the Gold medal final against Shefa, while Tafea and Malampa were sent to the bronze medal final.
A surprising Team Malampa actually won to Tafea for the bronze medal (54-46) despite their pool's lose.
Shefa eventually had to fold back its sleeves to overcome to Port-Vila (61-38) after that the municipality's team took the best on the first-half (19-20). The 3rd quarter saw Shefa rally past their opponent with some clinic fast-breaks
Everyone is now looking forward to the next edition of the games, that are to be held in Malekula in 2022