The Fiji Pearls had to work hard to secure a 56-41 win against Singapore in the PacificAus Sports Series.
Singapore was relentless in attack and put up a solid defensive line when the Pearls had possession.
The national side gave away too many possessions in the first quarter but recovered thanks to some good defense that allowed turnovers to be made and points registered.
Fiji led 17-11 at the first quarter.
Singapore stepped up another level in the second quarter, reading the play well, marking their opponents and limiting Fiji’s options.
This saw Singapore narrow the margin to 18-14 and there was more to come.
Miscommunication and ball retention were the Pearls main enemies as the opposition pounced and capitalized on a number of loose balls.
Coach Unaisi Rokoura made some changes with Jemima Kece coming in as a replacement for Matila Vocea and Ateca Qasenivalu came in at wing defense.
Goal-attack Maliana Rusivakula had to be taken out of court due to an injury seeing Unaisi Rauluni coming in as a replacement.
The second-half score was reduced to 10 goals as the Pearls led with 29.
A hot start from the Pearls in the fourth quarter showed some promise as they ran away with the lead and had the opposition playing catch-up.
Fatigue seemed to have crept in during the last five minutes with passes not connecting and too many penalties given due to contact play.
As Fiji struggled to find their form, Singapore closed in the gap to five points but thanks to a 10-goal margin at halftime, the Pearls led 39-34 at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The final quarter was all-important but both teams made a number of mistakes inside the first two minutes.
The Pearls picked up momentum and were more accurate with their options to keep them in front and secure the win.
SOURCE: FBC SPORTS/PACNEWS