Basketball team proves that change in attitude has rewards

first_imgSouths joined the revamped Kiunga Basketball Association in 2014 and enjoyed their most successful year this year, winning 10 of their 18 games; however that was not enough to secure a finals berth.Led by high flying Madang representative, Nelson Thom, who joined the club this season, Souths United proved that a change in attitude and discipline on and off the courts has rewards.From winless seasons in 2014 and 2015, they have turned their fortune around this season and have become a team to watch come 2017.“They have done extremely well this season, I would have loved to see them playing finals this year but I know for sure they will be a team to beat next year because they have completely changed themselves as a team,” KBA president Zita Sagom said.The president added that Thom has changed and revamped basketball in the mining township and much excitement is brewing with the finals set to start this weekend.“Nelson is one-of-a-kind; he has changed the face of basketball in Kiunga and the province. Out of his heart to give back, he has repainted the courts to the new standard rulings, he has given each team the 2014 FIBA rules, explained new rules, given officials advice and event held training sessions for all the 10 teams we have in the competition,” Sagom explained.Souths United got a revamp when senior player and 2016 sponsor Watuma Raguna (Tuksy) joined the club this year and lured Thom and Lenny Kosi to the club and began the process of change.Thom explained: “It was not a hard choice for me to move to Souths because all the other teams knew what basketball was all about, they knew how to approach it and for Souths, it was different; they needed a leader and that’s where Tuksy (Watuma) comes in and we just helped him rebuild the team.“In our first training session I told the team, we are not here to make the finals this year but to win a few games to show that we can change, we can improve and we can win too. I told them 2016 is the year Souths United in Kiunga rebuilds itself and come 2017, we will be a team playing in the finals and even winning it.“We are that confident now that the season is over for us and we know where we are and where we want to go,” Thom stated.The Madang star added that the game has changed a lot and the standard has greatly improved in the last couple of years.“I love the game and my input into the game here is not about making a name for myself but lifting the image of the game here and the rest of the country.“I got a lot of assistance and advice from my Madang coach Raymond Parangkei, technical officers like Morgan Kapera and Charles Morola and the PNG Basketball Federation president Nick Daroa, so it has been a journey and I would like more to be given back to basketball here and I will work hard to do that.”Thom explained that while the PNG Games has been deferred to March 2017, he will feel a great sense of accomplishment when Team Western is represented by a basketball team in the Kimbe Games.“To be honest, I’d probably get really emotional. That is my goal and even though I’d be putting on my beloved Madang number 12 and representing my province of Madang, just seeing a basketball team from Western and this bunch of players being exposed to PNG is all I want.”Souths United not only wants to play in the KBA finals next year but want to do more to basketball in Kiunga and their team.They are raising funds to take part in the National Souths Basketball Championships and buying new uniforms and seeking sponsors too.“I was privileged to train at the national level with the national team and what I have learnt there, I am passing onto my team mates here and in Madang.“I want every player, every team and every association in the country to understand and move with the changes happening with basketball. We know Pom, Lae, Madang and Hagen are super powers in the game for so long but I’d love to see Milne Bay or Enga or Oro beat the top teams.“When that happens, we know basketball as a code has greatly improved nationwide and I want to contribute to that,” Thom said.The KBA finals start this weekend at the Kiunga Basketball courts, with the top six battling it out to be 2016 champions in the “B” Grade and “A” Grade divisions.Women’s champions KTPS Falcons are in the mix to make it back as well as Waliya in the men’s division.If you want to support Souths United Basketball team or the Kiunga Basketball Association, you can contact Nelson on 7226 7712 or email [email protected](Nelson Thom dribbling during a game in Western Province.)last_img