Sports — 09 May 2014 — by Malcolm Hyde

Belize City No Limit unable to secure home court in the playoffs

The first ever National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs are almost upon us, as the league’s top 4 teams will advance to the semifinal round, to later crown an NEBL champion. The number 1 seed will play the number 4 seed in a best-of-3 games series, while the number 2 and 3 seeds will do the same. The San Pedro Tigersharks have all but locked up the number 1 seed, and going into last Friday night’s game between the Cayo Western Ballaz and Belize City No Limit at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, the number 2 seed was still up for grabs.

Last Friday night, before the Elite League players took the court, fans who were early to Bird’s Isle were treated to a rematch of last year’s National High School Basketball championship between Sacred Heart College of San Ignacio and Anglican Cathedral College of Belize City. ACC, who lost to SHC in the championship, would get their revenge, as they blew out the side from San Ignacio by a final score of 90 to 58. No doubt, there were a few future NEBL players participating in that game.

After having lost to the Western Ballaz earlier this season in Cayo, the No Limit Soldiers were also seeking vengeance, as well as the home court advantage in the playoffs. It was already decided in the court of public opinion that these two teams were destined to face each other in the semifinal round of the playoffs as the 2nd and 3rd seed, and this Friday night’s showdown would help decide who would be number 2 and who would be number 3.

The Belize City No Limit Soldiers got out to a great start, as they opened up a 15 to 4 lead at the start of the 1st quarter. The Soldiers were clicking on all cylinders, forcing turnovers and getting out in transition, where Andrew Ortiz, a.k.a. “Mr. Throw Down” a.k.a. “The Rim Rocka,” dazzled and excited the home town fans with some spectacular finishes above the rim, as only he could. But the 1st quarter would ultimately belong to the visiting Western Ballaz, as the score was 21 to 17 at the end of 1 in favor of the Ballaz.

The Western Ballaz seized control of the game at the end of that 1st quarter, and were able to withstand the runs the No Limit Soldiers would go on later in the game, to get the all important 77-63 victory.

Though the Ballaz were ahead for most of the night, it was still a close match, as the lead would change hands 4 times. The Soldiers were out rebounded, 50 to 41, outscored in the paint, 54 to 40, and the Western Ballaz bench proved to be more potent than that of the No Limit Soldiers on this night, as the Cayo reserves put up 49 points to Belize City’s 14.

The Soldiers lost that game and most likely the number 2 seed, but the season is not over yet. The regular season is quickly drawing to a close, as the Soldiers have 3 more games to play, with their next match-up coming in the form of the Belmopan Point Bandits (on May 8).

The Bandits are a hungry team that is currently fighting for the 4th and final playoff spot, which at the moment could either go to the Bandits or the Culture Warriors. The Bandits have been on a hot streak as of late, winning 4 of their last 5 games, so the Belize City No Limit Soldiers will need to bring nothing less than their “A” game if they hope to get a win at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan.

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