Aussies rebound for win on Malabar court

A late substitute Australian team bounded home with a monumental upset win as part of a series of goodwill sports games during Exercise Malabar.

CAPTIONLeading Seaman Manuel Salas participates in a basketball competition as part of the Exercise Malabar 2023 shore phase in Sydney, NSW. Story by Lieutenant Marcus Middleton. Photo by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.

Eight teams from the Indian, Japanese, US and Royal Australian navies gathered for a basketball tournament, as crews from the member nations competed for national pride and bragging rights ahead of the exercise’s sea phase.

In a shock upset, a ring-in team from HMAS Supply toppled the USS Rafael Peralta 11-8 during the round-robin stage, despite the highly-skilled US team winning all their other games by at least twenty point margins.

HMAS Supply team captain, Leading Seaman Manuel Salas said his team was still in shock from the win, with the crew thinking a loss was definitely on the cards.

“The nerves were pretty high before the game. The Americans are amazing – after all, it’s their sport – and they have been dominating everyone,” Leading Seaman Salas said.

He said it was the first time the Supply team had played together, after being called in to fill a late spot in the roster.

“Another team couldn’t make it last minute, so we got together in a rush and it was an incredible achievement to beat such a skilled side.”

However, according to Leading Seaman Salas, the real wins were had not on the court, but in the stands.

“These types of tournaments are an invaluable part of the exercise. It’s a time when we can gather and chat with sailors from other nations. We learn about their lives at sea, what their daily routines are like, we share our stories and we all learn a great deal from each other.”

Exercise Malabar is a significant Indo-Pacific exercise that deepens the interoperability between our regional partners: India, Japan and the US.

This year, in its 27th iteration, the exercise is being held off the NSW coast from August 10-21,with the Royal Australian Navy hosting for the first time.


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