2019 Pacific Games: Basketballer to Watch

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A Solomon Islands defender, Augustine Basi, right, keeping a close eye on a Fiji player during their men's 3×3 game in the 10th Pacific Mini Games.

BY NYLAS LIFUASI

AUGUSTINE Basia’s announcement that he will represent the country as an experienced point guard for the national men’s basketball team at the July’s XIV Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa has not come as a wild surprise, he has previously represented the Solomon Islands in three respective Pacific Games in 2007, 2015 and 2017.

Now 30, Basia has returned his position and hope to excel in his fourth 2019 Pacific Games.

In 2017, Augustine created himself another milestone in basketball, when he initially represented the country at the 2017 FIBA Melanesia Basketball Cup in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – it was an international basketball tournament contested by national teams of the newly formed Melanesia sub-zone of FIBA Oceania.

It was FIBA that has awarded the Pacific Games’ Men’s Basketball wildcard position to the Solomon Islands for the upcoming 2019 quadrennial event in Apia, Samoa.

Growing up in a sports-loving family is what Augustine believed to be the reason why he loved sports so much.

He started basketball at a very young age. His parents encouraged him to do these things and his dad; Bartholomew Basia was even a local celebrity on the airwaves, he had also made numerous live commentaries on international sports especially the South Pacific Games and soccer matches both here and overseas.

Augustine comes from the Malaita province and Reef Islands in Temotu Province.

Here is Augustine Basia from an interview with Raw Sports:

  • Tell us about your Background

I am a third-born child raised from a sports loving family. My mum and my three sisters also played and represented the country in regional basketball competitions. Therefore, I was raised up in a sports family that built up my passion to be a basketball player.

My passion for basketball was something I had from childhood until I reached my teens. I see basketball as a way to escape boredom and stay positive from other unhealthy and anti-social activities.

Since my childhood days, my dream was to represent my country in regional and international basketball competitions. Now, I have realised that I have accomplished my dreams and reached the peak of my journey as a national basketballer in the country.

  • What challenges do you come across being a basketball player?

Major obvious challenges are the poorly maintained sporting infrastructure and limited facilities to enable basketball training and competition in Honiara.

We have seen and heard of the poor quality of basketball courts in the country and its declining conditions. The basketball court at the multipurpose hall is the only training venue for many national sport teams or federations in the country. In most cases it not well taken care of and at most times it affects our scheduled training sessions and preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games.

  • What are your goals as you prepare for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa?

My number one goal is make a difference in the upcoming Games. I believe with confidence that with the new and experienced players in the squad, we can bring back a medal for the country.

We will be competing against the top teams in the Pacific but I hope our team will take the challenge as underdogs at the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.

  • What are some of your plans after the Pacific Games in Samoa?

I have recently achieved my top priority plan in terms of developing a basketball skills training and development program for youth interested in basketball in Honiara.

It is a weekly basketball-training program that is held at Town Ground and which focuses on the basic fundamentals of basketball in terms of ball handling, dribbling, passing and shooting. It is the most basic form, allowing players to become familiar with the basketball.

I hope my plans will help young people to be better basket athletes in the future.

  • What encouragement do you have for youths with interest in basketball?

I wish to encourage youths with interest in basketball to take up a challenge and get involved in future organised basketball-training programs in the country.

If you are a student and wish to play basketball, I believed you are at the right direction to a brighter future because basketball will teach you about being a discipline player both in the classroom and on the basketball court. It is a great social sport.

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