BELAU GAMES MEDAL ROUND DAY 8
In a see-sawing first half, Peleliu and Koror kept the crowd in loud voice with a superb display of team basketball. Veteran national player, Sunshine Soalabali helped time and again to keep Peleliu in the game with his direction from the point and his scoring ability inside and out. For Koror it was petite point guard Dembei Watanabe who directed much of the offence and play and his size belies his ability. With just 43 seconds left before half time the score was tied but a more controlled game by Peleliu gave them a 5 point lead at the break. It was Sunshine again who kept Peleliu in control in the 3rd quarter and while a bit of feeling was creeping into the game, Peleliu continued to keep their cool. This quarter continued in the same exciting fashion with scores remaining close throughout and finished with the score at 64-61 in favour of Peleliu. The crowd was so packed that no-one was prepared to move out of their seat during the breaks for fear that they would lose it to the large crowd forced to stand. The 4th quarter was close again with neither team able to make a break until with just 14.3 seconds left and Koror leading by 1, Dembei Watanabe was awarded two free throws and sank both. Last moment attempts by Peleiu to hit a 3 failed and Koror took the gold by 80-77.
In a most entertaining game Peleliu women took the gold medal over a less experienced Ngaremlengui team. Peleliu started strong and had a handy lead by 5 minutes in the 1st quarter. The scoring power of the Peleliu women gave them a 17-6 quarter time lead. In the 2nd period the defence of the Ngaremlengui team improved and managed to shut down a number of Peleliu offences and only lost them this quarter 10-9. The taller forwards from Ngaremlengui were winning on the boards and providing second opportunities for their smaller brigade. With just 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd, Ngaremlengui were down by 16 points but rallied during the final minutes to be only 9 down at 3 quarter time. The scene was set for a big last quarter. With just 3 minutes left in the game Ngaremlengui got within 4 points and looked to be on a roll, however, Peleliu increased their defensive intensity to hold off any reduction in the deficit by Ngaremlengui, and with a basket right on the buzzer ran out winners 50-44.
In the bronze medal game for women Koror started well for the first 5 minutes but Ngchesar fought back to lead at the end of first half by 27-20, with big contributions by Nicole Carlton, Omung Termeteet and Cora Echang. Koror fought back and were just 6 points down with 4 minutes left in the 3rd, but a strong finish by Jubilee Kuartei had Ngchesar up by 10 points at the end of the quarter. Koror continued to come home strong but went down 50-58 by the final buzzer.
The men’s bronze medal was a game of fluctuations with Melekeok leading the 1st quarter and Ngchesar coming back strong in the 2nd to lead by by 9 at the long break. Ngchesar lead by just 1 point as the game went into the 4th quarter and the teams traded basket for basket. In the end the Ngchesar players simply became fatigued and could not catch up the 4 points needed and Melekeok won by 85-81. Una Rikrik had a huge game for Melekeok with 29 points and was the main difference between the teams.