Sports — 14 May 2016 — by Karim Juan - NEBL Commissioner
NEBL championship will be decided at the Hurricane Shelter

SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Wed. May 11, 2016–The third and deciding game 3 of the NEBL finals will be played this Friday night, May 13, at 9:00 p.m. at the Belize Elementary School gymnasium, known as the “Hurricane Shelter.”   Winner takes all in the final game of the NEBL season.  In the first two games, the home team came out with the win, so the edge in this game goes to Smart Belize Hurricanes.  However, the two-time defending champion, San Pedro Tiger Sharks has proven over and over that they can win on the road.

       The league’s MVP, Farron Louriano, from Smart Belize Hurricanes, has led his team in scoring with 24 and 30 points, respectively, in game 1 and game 2.  He is averaging 27 points/game in this series, to go with 7.5 rebounds/game.  Darwin “Puppy” Leslie scored 25 points in game 1 and 15 points in game 2, to average 20 points/game in the finals.  Farron’s scoring and rebounding, complemented by Puppy’s scoring, poise and leadership on the court have been the only two constants for Smart Belize Hurricanes.  The key for a victory on Friday night will be a third scorer.  Someone else has to step up to shoulder some of the scoring load for the home squad on Friday night.  In game 1, that scoring came from Leroy Louriano and Jacob Leslie, while Glency “Coope” Lopez was huge in game 2.  Brian White ripped 18 rebounds in game 1, but was held to only 6 boards in game 2, so he needs to grab at least 10 rebounds in this game, to help his team control the tempo of the game.  Smart Belize Hurricanes has to limit the outside shooting of San Pedro Tiger Sharks, while limiting their points off turnovers.  They must protect the ball and limit their turnovers.

   San Pedro Tiger Sharks had a huge game 2 from Ashton Edwards, who scored 30 points in his first game back in this year’s playoffs.  The hot shooting of Ashton and Douglas Valley must trickle over to game 3, so that they can spread the floor on offense.  Douglas Valley is having a break-out series, with 17 points in game 1 and 20 points in game 2, to average 18.5 points/game in the finals.  Andrew “Bynum” Ortiz has really been huge in this series as well, tallying a 20-12 double-double in game 1 and an 18 and 8 in game 2, to average 19 points and 10 rebounds in the series.  The key for San Pedro is to limit a third scoring option for Smart Belize Hurricanes, and to keep Smart Belize Hurricanes off the free-throw line.

       This game surely promises to be a great game from tip-off, with two physical teams battling for the NEBL championship in a crowded and loud arena.  San Pedro Tiger Sharks boasts its experience and poise, led by point guard Tyrone “Mission” Edwards, and most of their players who have been with the team during their championship run.  Smart Belize Hurricanes has Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, who was instrumental in San Pedro’s two championships, so he brings leadership and confidence to a roster that is at the finals for the first time.  Farron Louriano, two time NEBL MVP, is at his second NEBL finals, hoping to win his first ring with Smart Belize Hurricanes.  Coaches Rico Black and Darren Bovell will play a pivotal role in game 3, as the players they send to war must be ready and battle-tested.

       The game will be live on Channel 5, and it can also be followed live on our website at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores, while the game is being played.  The website also has all game scores, box scores, players’ and teams’ statistics.

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