Lae-based players Russell Stafford and Marx Boussougou have signed up with the new kids on the block in PNG Premier Men’s Basketball League, Digaso Hornbills. Stafford, one of the top players in the country, has been overlooked on numerous occasions for the national duties. Twenty-year-old Boussougou’s signing with the Hornbills will enable him to compete in the elite competition and drive him to become one of the best players in future. “Certainly, there are a lot of talents out there in the rural district as well as in other centers apart from Port Moresby. Russell has so far played two games with Hornbills and is one of our top players,” said Hornbill’s assistant coach Dr Benjamin Haindapa. After leaving basketball for while and on returning to Port Moresby for employment, Stafford was overwhelmed by the performance of Hornbills against Exodus on Saturday that saw the Hornbills beat Exodus 71-60. Stafford will use his free time to help Hornbills and given his athletism, he is certain to rise and claim his spot in the 2019 Pacific Games squad, something every player is fighting for. From Butibam in Lae, Morobe Province, Stafford is no stranger to basketball, following the footstep of his uncles as well as his dad, Casey Stafford. Hornbills head coach Bernard Elavo also confirmed the signing of another Lae-based youngster Boussougou. “Boussougou standing at a 180cm, and at the age of 20, will be a lethal weapon for the team. Certainly the sky is the limit for both Stafford and Boussougou,” said Dr Haindapa. “We have other players from Kutubu, Lae and Erave yet to join the team. We are also appealing to all Southern Highlanders, Morobeans and people from Hela to come and support Hornbills,” the assistant coach said. Hornbills face another uphill battle tomorrow night when the face Moni Plus at 6pm at the TAC. “We urge all our supporters to come and support the game this Thursday (tomorrow),” Elavo said. The gate fees for the adults are at K5 while student with ID is K3 and kids K2.