Basketball

Mili Koyamainavure shines for Fiji

The Fiji women’s basketball team finished sixth at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2017 competition in Bengaluru, India.

Staff Writers

July 30, 2017 1:45 pm

Before the Asia Cup, Fiji last played a competitive match in July 2015. It was the final of the Pacific Games in PNG, and Fiji beat American Samoa in the gold medal game to earn a place to Division B in Bengaluru.

Fiji's initiation to Asia was a rough one, beaten 103-38 on their debut by Singapore. Coach Laisiasa Puamau could only call upon eight players on the 12-strong roster, with experienced players like Letava Whippy, Leba Korovou and Valerie Nainima all unable to make the trip.
Fiji’s initiation to Asia was a rough one, beaten 103-38 on their debut by Singapore. Coach Laisiasa Puamau could only call upon eight players on the 12-strong roster, with experienced players like Letava Whippy, Leba Korovou and Valerie Nainima all unable to make the trip.

Worse, centre forward Disiola Boseiwaqa had an injury flare-up after playing nine minutes, one that would rule her out of the rest of the tournament.

Mili Koyamainavure (FIBA).
Fiji’s 24-year-old guard Mili Koyamainavure, who joined the team from their second match against Lebanon (a 90-48 defeat), has been the outstanding performer since.

Koyamainavure scored 13 points in the Lebanon game and then scored 28 of Fiji’s 48 against Kazakhstan, where they narrowed the margin of defeat further to 23, down from 65 in the first match.

On Friday, Koyamainavure was the prominent player on the court for the second time in less than 24 hours, her 22 points helping Fiji edge out Sri Lanka 65-64 in a classification match that now means they will not finish in last place overall in the fifteen-team Asia Cup.
On Friday, Koyamainavure was the prominent player on the court for the second time in less than 24 hours, her 22 points helping Fiji edge out Sri Lanka 65-64 in a classification match that now means they will not finish in last place overall in the fifteen-team Asia Cup.

In the last match against Singapore, Koyamainavure impressed again by having a field day with 31 points on 54.5% shooting, 11 rebounds and four assists. Dale Wise was also effective for Fiji, adding 15 points and seven rebounds.  Fiji lost that match 80-65.

For the moment, Fiji has shown the rest of the Pacific region that you can make things happen, provided you are willing to bide your time and learn from your mistakes.

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