Guam feasts on Papua New Guinea in Thanksgiving Day FIBA quarterfinal clash

NOAH CRUZ: Guam's Noah Cruz (24) runs the offense during a FIBA U15 Oceania Championships quarterfinal game against Papua New Guinea Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, at the University of Guam Calvo Field House in Mangilao. Cruz scored 17 points and hauled in eight rebounds as Guam defeated PNG 102-71. Photo courtesy of FIBA

The Guam U15 Boys National Basketball team trailed Papua New Guinea by four points at the end of the first half, but poured it on in the final 20 minutes, winning the FIBA U15 Oceania Championship quarterfinals game 102-71 on Nov. 24 at the University of Guam Calvo Field House in Mangilao Guam.

After nine lead changes, Guam put a little distance between themselves and PNG in the third quarter and kept up the intensity throughout the entire second half.

The win marked Guam’s second in a row, setting up a semifinals game at 8:15 p.m. Friday, against New Zealand. When Guam and New Zealand met in pool play, theKiwis won in dominating fashion, 125-54.

Against PNG, it took Guam a while to find their range, but once they did, there was no looking back.

Leading Team Guam, Noah Hernandez scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Teammates Noah Cruz scored 17 points and grabbed eight boards, Lynnwoon Baker scored 13 points, grabbed five boards and dished three assists, and Phoenix Borja, Collin Rillimas, Michael Bork Jr. and Troy Dirige finished with eight points.

For Team PNG, Adam Maikai scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 10 boards. Teammate Noah Yangomina, another double-double guy, scored 18 points and ripped down 20 rebounds, 11 on the offensive glass. Grant Bray, PNG’s third scoring option, scored 15 points and had five steals.

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