Cook Islands’ Terai Ma Teata Elia (formerly Terai Sadler). FIBA/21010506
Rising from their humble beginnings in the Pacific, Cook Islands' Terai Ma Teata Elia (formerly Terai Sadler), Fiji’s Letava Whippy, Dalen Pilitati, and Te Araroa Sapoaga rose to the occasion and made strides in the prestigious Sal’s 18in18 New Zealand Women's National Basketball League.
Platinum Homes Harbour Breeze reigned supreme in the six-team NBL cast with a
sweep to the finals against Waikato Wizards (70-59) last month but Elia,
Sapoaga, Pilitati, and Whippy certainly made names for themselves and for their
respective nations back home.
Sapoaga and Whippy with Pilitati towed Otago Gold Rush and Capital Swish to the
semi-finals, respectively, while Elia delivered a solid performance despite
Canterbury Wildcats’ early exit in the elimination round.
normed a near double-double of 8.8 points, 10.0 rebounds on top of 1.8 assists
and 4.5 steals for the Wildcats who failed to go deep into the playoffs with a
tournament long, Sapoaga for her part played a vital part for the Gold Rush,
scattering averages of 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals.
was awarded the Youth Player of the Year for her impressive performance
throughout the campaign.
showing included an all-around 7-point, 3-rebound, 4-assist, and 5-steal
statline as the Gold Rush fell just short of booking a championship ticket with
a close 63-68 defeat against the Wizards.
played in five games for the Swish as part of the regular rotation averaging
15.6 minutes per game rounding out her stats with 3.4 points, 0.6 rebounds, and
0.6 assists per game.
been a great experience playing in the league! Placing in the top 4 is an
amazing achievement for our team after being promoted from Division Two last
year. It’s been awesome to play with and against some of the best basketball
players in New Zealand and I can’t wait to see this competition grow over the
years to come,” Pilitati shared to FIBA.basketball.
teammate, Whippy stood the tallest and flew the Pacific flag performing
admirably well on the big stage while also being named to the tournament’s
All-Star Five of the tournament.
national team player-led Swish in four categories after racking up 12.7 points,
9.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 3.7 steals.
leadership anchored the Capital to the Final Four before bowing to eventual champion
there, Whippy would not be stopped leaving an imprint for the Swish as she held
her ground against the unbeaten and powerhouse Breeze following a 17-point,
12-rebound output including six assists and whopping five steals.
Islands’ Elia, Pilitati, and Sapoaga with Fiji’s Whippy started with just
little steps for their respective dreams.
These players have leaped into the big game with no less than their nations printed across their chest and their flags hovering – not only over the Pacific but also around the globe.