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Another Pacific Islands affair took centre stage at the M1 Nations Cup between PNG Pepes and Cook Islands at OCBC Arena, Singapore that saw the Cooks thrashing PNG 62-34 at the final whistle.
It was both teams’ second match of a six days tournament with Pepes fielding a younger development side as compared in the past, something Coach Annie Iamo and Co-captain Courtney Abel emphasizing on the players to get much game exposure and taking one game at a time.
Pepes polished up in the opening quarter of play with again Evanelliah Aua and Japerth Tulapi taking on the points scoring duties with Neritha Adula at mid-court.
At defensive cover saw Ravusiro Vali and Courtney Abel including young star Isabella Roakeina assisting at wing defense.
They (Pepes) were put to test throughout the 15 minutes of play and sure enough the score went in the favor of Cook Islands 12-9.
A suspected ankle injury to Pepes goal keeper Ravusiro Vali got her shouldered out off the court of play midway through to the second quarter.
Vali’s absence reshuffled the line-up as Tulapi went back to defend (GK) and assisting Abel (GD) and Tau Galewa (WD) while Aua and Alexandria Ligo took up the goal shooting responsibilities. The Cook Islanders maintained their dominance upfront for a 30-16 halftime score.
At the restart, it was again Cook Islands stamping the lead as Pepes slowly made progress to keep up with plays.
It was also a promising partnership at goal shooting between Aua and Ravu Noka with the inclusion of Kimberly Alex who muscled their way to slot points but it was the Cooks who pulled ahead with a 47-25 lead.
The final quarter of play did saw Pepes coming up with tireless efforts to close the gap but their opponents took total control to hold off a come-back effort as the final whistle was signaled for game over.
Cook Islands won 62-34 at the final whistle.
The Pepes will take on Namibia tomorrow in their next match.
In their opening match against Ireland, the Pepes went down to Ireland 41-38 after putting up a good fight in the first two quarters before surrendering to their opponents.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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