Local athletes set to depart for Mini Games next week

American Samoa will be competing in three events during the 2017 Mini Pacific Games set to be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu on Dec. 4-15.

American Samoa's delegation, including athletes in beach volleyball, 3-on-3 basketball, weightlifters Tanu Jungblunt and Li’a Tufele, and weightlifting coach Monica Afalava will begin departing Dec. 1st

The rest of the group will depart Dec. 5th

Only those set to compete during the first days of the Games will be leaving first.

Leading the entourage is American Samoa National Olympic Committee president Ed Imo.

ASNOC secretary general Ethan Lake and Miss American Samoa Matauaina Toomalatai are also scheduled to attend the Games. The reigning beauty queen will head to the Games after she competes in the Miss Pacific Pageant in Nadi, Fiji, which will be held next month — Dec. 2- 9.

In other ASNOC news, Lake thanks everyone who attended last Tuesday's meeting to pinpoint those interested in being part of ASNOC's marketing/ events commission.

"The meeting went really well," he said, adding that everyone in attendance agreed to push forward with the 2017 American Samoa Sports Awards Gala, set for January 2018, which, according to Lake, will include "our first Sports Hall of Fame inductees."

PROFILES OF 3X3 TEAM FROM FIBA BASKETBALL NEWS

Joseph "Joey" Meredith has become one of the best 2-way players in American Samoa. Known to leave everything on the court, his perimeter shooting will be a valuable asset during the games.

His leadership and experience will be a huge impact on his first trip as a national player for American Samoa 3x3 team mentioned American Samoa Basketball Association (ASBA) President, Milton Taufa'asau.

"We're excited that Joey accepted the invitation to represent American Samoa and we know that he will compete 100%,” said Taufa'asau. “He's a smart guy and no average "JOE" when it comes to basketball and we wish him and team American Samoa the best.”

Joining Meredith is a young and talented athlete, a member of the 2014 U19 National team, Afi Nimoa'i. He has been an integral member of many high school and national team titles in American Samoa.

Nimoa’i is what some might call a streaky shooter, but his ability to pass and move the ball is amazing. His ability to see the court will be a huge help to team American Samoa in Vanuatu.

"I've worked with Afi for a long time and he had some great training from other coaches,” commented Taufa'asau. “We knew Afi would bring some fire to the team, he's a competitor. His passion for the game is admirable and we know that, alongside his teammates, they'll compete and likely move deep into the tournament through the playoff brackets."

A dynamic offensive player, Lynel “SJ” Manuma, is one of the more explosive players on the American Samoa 3x3 scene. In 2014, he represented American Samoa at the FIBA U19 Oceania Championships in Fiji. Lynel will reunite with his former U19 teammates in Vanuatu alongside with their captain Joseph Meredith.

"Lynel is a competent player and can an unstoppable athlete,” stated Taufa'asau. “What's good about him, is that he’s able to play the wing with ease and can attack the basket at will. I see great potential in him and he has great chemistry with the guys. We know he'll do good out there with his teammates."

Last but not least, an athletic marvel on and off the court, Paul Collins is one of the most reliable athletes you can ask for as player and teammate. A member of the 2014 U19 national team, Paul is a utility player for American Samoa, one that is able to play multiple positions from centre to the point guard.

His ability to both play in the post and attack the basket is one of his major strengths as a player.

Read more at FIBA Basketball News

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