Guard Pafe Momoisea is relishing a fresh start with the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets and is excited to show the growth of his game when he hits the court for the 2022 Sal’s NBL season at the end of April.
The 2021 season was Momoisea’s first in the Sal’s NBL, suiting up in 18 games for the Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets with averages of 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. The 22-year-old said he started the season slow and struggled with his confidence, but he felt he made strides as the season progressed.
“I think I started slow and struggled with my confidence, but that got better as the season went on. I found it hard to get on the court and stay on the court because we were pushing for the playoffs, and I was playing behind some really talented players,” said Momoisea.
“I learnt a lot from that experience and ended the season as a better player than I was at the beginning.”
Momoisea played an average of 9.1 minutes per game last season, and he cited the opportunity to develop as a player and earn more minutes as a big reason why he decided to join the Jets.
“Coach [Natu] Taufale spoke a lot about development, and I felt it was the right place for me to get better. The opportunity to play a bigger role was also appealing and to really have an impact.”
For head coach Natu Taufale, this is his first season at the helm of the Jets after spending eight years as Basketball New Zealand’s national director of coach development. Taufale is excited about the addition of Momoisea to the team and believes he’s going to prove a lot in 2022.
“Part of our process in recruiting players was looking at their character. We not only look at their talent and their ability on the court, but they have to have the character and align with a lot of the team philosophies we have. Pafe ticked all those boxes," said Taufale.
“Pafe has only been playing the game for six years, so he’s had a late entry compared to others around him. He’s still got a lot to develop and learn but we’re excited that he’s here and what he brings to the table. He’s a guy that can play both guard positions and we’ll look to use him in that capacity."
Momoisea anticipates playing more point guard this season and has been putting in the work to shore up any weaknesses in his game.
“Ball handling has been a big focus as I’ll be mostly playing point guard this season. I want to improve my perimeter shooting, and just my jump shot in general is something I’ve been working a lot on.
“I want to be a lot more efficient. I didn’t shoot well last year, so I want to make sure I improve in that area. I want to go out and prove myself as a guard in the league, and really establish that I can run the point.”
The second-year guard brings toughness and defence to a team that will look to establish their identity early in the season and being a point guard, it means Momoisea will naturally take on a leadership role with the team.
“I feel I can be a leader here. I want to try and lead by example.”
Check out Pafe Momoisea’s 2021 Sal’s NBL highlights: