Sports — 05 May 2018
Hurricanes and Defenders open Civic; Pepsi NEBL playoff matchups set

BELIZE CITY, Wed. May 2, 2018– After games on Friday and Monday nights, one more regular season game remains in the Pepsi NEBL 2018 competition, which will be played on Thursday night, May 3.

On Friday night, April 27, at the Russel Chiste Garcia Auditorium, visiting Smart Belize Hurricanes came away with the 73-61 road win over the Griga Dream Ballers.  Leading the Hurricanes were Tyson Reynold 16 pts 7 rebs, Akeem Watters 14 pts, Brian White 13 pts 12 rebs, Glency Lopez 9 pts 8 assts, and Raheem Thurton 9 pts 5 rebs; while for the Dream Ballers, Edgar Mitchell had 20 pts 7 rebs 8 assts, and Tahj Wells 14 pts 9 rebs.

Then on Monday night, April 30, in the first ever NEBL game at the new Belize City Civic Center, homestanding Smart Belize Hurricanes stormed over the Belize City Defenders, 80-60, behind a sensational outing from young Glency Lopez 30 pts 4 rebs 5 assts, and Brian “Brybo” White 15 pts 11 rebs, along with Akeem Watters 8 pts 4 rebs 2 stls; while the Defenders were led by Nigel Jones 21 pts 12 rebs, Darwin “Puppy” Leslie 19 pts 7 rebs 2 assts, Rassi Jenkins 5 pts 9 rebs 3 assts, and Lincey Lopez (Glency’s brother) had 5 assts.

The victories have sealed the #2 seed for Smart Belize Hurricanes who will face #3 seed Griga Dream Ballers in the semifinals which will be best-of-three games series.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks will enter the playoffs as the #1 seed, with home court advantage throughout the playoffs.  In the semifinal round, they will do battle against DigiCell Belize City Defenders, who is the #4 seed.  During the regular season, both teams won a game each, with each team winning at home.

In the other semifinal matchup, Smart Belize Hurricanes will square off against Griga Dream Ballers, as the #2 seed and the #3 seed, respectively, after Monday’s victory over Defenders gave Hurricanes the standings edge and home court advantage over Dream Ballers.  These two teams, Hurricanes and Dream Ballers, also split their regular season games, with both teams winning on the road.

Upcoming schedule:
Thursday, May 3, reg. season ends
8:00 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Verdes at UB Gymnasium (Note early tip-off time.)
Semifinal Playoffs Game 1
Friday, May 4
9:00 p.m. – (#2) Smart Belize Hurricanes vs (#3) Griga Dream Ballers at Belize City Civic Center
Saturday, May 5
9:00 p.m. – (#1) San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs (#4) DigiCell Belize City Defenders at San Pedro High School
Semifinal Playoffs Game 2
Friday, May 11
9:00 p.m. – (#4) DigiCell Belize City Defenders vs (#1) San Pedro Tiger Sharks at Belize City Civic Center
Saturday, May 12
9:00 p.m. – (#3) Griga Dream Ballers vs (#2) Smart Belize Hurricanes at Belize City Civic Center
(Semifinals Game 3, if necessary, at Game 1 venues)

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Deshawn Swasey

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