SUPER LEAGUE KICKS OFF IN STYLE
The first game saw the Palau National team pitted against the NBL All Stars and it was evident from the outset that the NBL Team was out to show the National Players that they also deserved a spot in the National Team. In a tight and physical first quarter the National Team’s extra pressure in defence helped them to have a 3 point lead at the break (19-16).
The continuous calling of fouls by the referees was delaying the game and the first half took just on 1 hour to complete. While the game was physical by both teams in defence, there was a need for the officials to allow the game to flow more. With a 38-28 lead at the long break the National Team looked the fitter with a fast running game and lots of aggressive half court defence.
With an almost as long second half crowd was kept from boredom by the athleticism and physical nature of both teams. The National Team emerged victors by 85 points to 61. For the National Team their main scorers were Gino Smau with 16, Taka Gibbons (13) and Sunshine Soalablai (12). For the NBL their main contributors were Traxx Mark, Javis Pedro and Mathew Russel all with 10 points each.
Rookie players in the National Team in 17 year old Obak Mad (6’4”) and 16 year old Jason Seid (6’) acquitted themselves well in their first game at this level.
But it was the size of Todd Fuller and David Wood that the crowd came to see and from the opening tip-off all eyes were on these two players.
Some of the tallest basketball players in Palau are part of the Filipino Basketball League but they really looked so small alongside the former NBA players.
With Wood handling the point and Fuller posting up next to the basket there was little the FBL Team could do until they rested on the bench and the smaller brigade entered the court.
With the two BIGS being rested in the 3rd period the FBL Team were able to equal the scoring in this quarter and almost did the same in the last, but the 55-23 lead at half time told the difference and YTS ran out winners by 91-66.
Todd Fuller was game high scorer with 31 points while Jun Bautista, Eric Basco and Raul Osias all scored 10 points each for the FBL Team.
Games continue tonight in the second round with the National Team up against the height of the YTS All Stars at 6.00pm and the FBL and NBL Teams meet at 8.00pm.