08/18/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/18/2019 06:27
Paita (New Caledonia) - Host team New Caledonia unleashed a fiery finishing effort to pull off a 76-68 comeback victory over the Cook Islands in Day 1 of the 2019 FIBA U17 Oceania Championship at the Arena du Sud in Paita, New Caledonia.
Down 57-68 in the last 3:19 of the game, Brian Taputu, and Yannick Fenuafanote sparked the New Caledonians' 19-0 closing run for a winning start in Group B which includes pool mates Tahiti and Papua New Guinea.
Taputu exploded with a game-high 32 points, pouring nine markers of those in the pivotal finishing run amidst the wild roars from the home fans.
The burly Taputu also tallied 11 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal for New Caledonia, which is eyeing to improve its Silver Finish in Division B during the previous edition back in 2017.
Ethaniel Fenuafanote chipped in 16 points and nine boards while Yannick added nine markers, six of those in the winning rally.
Matthew Marsters' near triple-double of 27 points, 17 rebounds and nine steals went for naught as the Cook Islanders opened their campaign with a loss.
Lewis Tuaru had 14 points and Orlando Lima had 10 markers in the losing effort.