Introducing the next generation of men’s basketball in the Pacific

GOLD COAST - Teenage basketballer Pfendl Tingiia of the Solomon Islands, has some refreshingly modest goals.

“Be on time for training or a team meeting.”

It’s clear that the game means a lot to Tingiia.

“For me, basketball is something that I love,” said Tingiia. “The things that I love brings happiness to me.

Tingiia will be joined by a number of other young hopefuls from the Pacific region in FIBA’s inaugural Pacific Youth Leaders (PYL) Basketball Camp. Last week we profiled some of the best female talent who will be in attendance for the camp which runs from September 2-11.

This week, we focus on the male youth in another two-part series.

Joining Tingiia will be Te Manava Syme-Buchanan (Cook Islands), Manoah Moli (Vanuatu), Ryan Paia (Samoa), Aron Farmer and Nathan Mutik (both of Papua New Guinea).

The 207cm Syme-Buchanan works fulltime, and studies part-time at the Cook Islands Trade Training Institute. Discipline is a trait that he treasures.

“I constantly maintain the principles taught to me – to be honourable in all that I do,” he told FIBA.

Syme-Buchanan plans to study at University and hopes to use this camp as a springboard in developing himself further, both in basketball and life in general.

“I would be very keen to learn how to better handle adverse situations in a positive way to achieve the best results,” he said.

Moli started playing basketball when he was in junior high, learning much of the game through his dad. He has since moved onto playing at the University of the South Pacific, where he has honed his game further. He’s a basketball junkie.

“I spend almost 2 hours each day watching basketball drills and moves on YouTube,” he said.

Playing the centre position, Moli is hoping to further develop his post moves, as well as communication and leadership skills at the camp.

“For me as an individual I’ll be able to share what I have learned during this PYL basketball camp to others who haven’t got this chance to participate,” he said.

“Also, I can go back to my community and teach them what I have learnt so far during my 10 days of high intensity basketball training.”

Ryan Paia (Samoa) at the 2015 Pacific Games | Credit: Olga-Fontanellaz

Paia has enjoyed the game since he was a kid. He started playing structured basketball at the age of 12. He steadily rose through the ranks at the Samoan national level, including winning the 2014 U18 championship in the national league.

This year, Paia was one of the top 4 nominees for the Samoan Junior Sportsman of the Year award.

“Ever since I grew up I always love playing basketball,” he said. “I just have the passion for basketball and I will continue to love this sport. Playing basketball is a means of bringing people together with the spirit of friendship that lies behind it.”

“I will do my best to apply what I will learn from this camp to build myself and other teammates so that our dream of becoming better players, better coaches for our country can be fulfilled.”

Aron Farmer playing in the QBL | Supplied via FIBA Oceania

Farmer has great aspirations. As well as being a part of a number of representative squads, the 198cm swingman has also been a part of the Cairns Taipans Academy in 2013, of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia.

“Playing Basketball is way of life for me,” he explained. “I play because I love the game and enjoy doing it. I am hopeful of one day making it my full-time profession. I have been fortunate that through the sport I have also had the opportunity to travel which I also like doing as well.”

Like others attending the camp, he hopes to share what he will learn during the camp back to his community.

“I want to become more of a leader within the men’s national team [Papua New Guinea] and help guide the side to further success in future tournaments / championships,” he said. “I also want to learn from this experience to be able to give back to the younger generation and become a positive role model.”

Similarly, Mutik hopes to share his experience at the camp with his teammates and community in Papua New Guinea. He only started playing structured basketball in 2013, but basketball already means so much to him.

“To me, playing basketball means that having the opportunity to socialise with the other teams and people and sharing the same idea about basketball.”

“I will use my experience to share to the team and community and teach them what I have learnt in a way that can help change their mind set and to help better both teams and community.”

This event is made possible through Australian Government funding.

About FIBA

FIBA ( – the world governing body for basketball – is an independent association formed by 215 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognised as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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