Sports — 02 June 2015 — by Karim Juan - NEBL Commissioner
NEBL Finals tip off this Friday in San Ignacio

SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. May 31, 2015–The NEBL, 2015 season is bouncing to its closure, as the best-of-three Finals will tip off this weekend in San Ignacio Town. Semifinal matches saw a record crowd in Dangriga, while the defending champs had to play a Game 3 to decide which of the two teams would advance to the Finals. Fans are reminded that all games have a live webcast with the game scores, play-by-play analysis and the box scores. Fans can follow every game live on our webpage, as scores are in real time. The NEBL, webpage also contains news, team standings and player statistics, and it can be found at nebl.sportingpulse.net

Cayo Western Ballaz returns to NEBL Finals after epic game in Dangriga

On Friday night, Dangriga Warriors (0-2) hosted the #1 seed, Cayo Western Ballaz (2-0) at the Ecumenical College in Dangriga, seeking a must-win victory in order to extend the series to a third and decisive game. The fan turnout in Dangriga was nothing short of spectacular, as the Dangriga fans were out in full force to support their boys, while Cayo Western Ballaz team was accompanied by two buses loaded with fans from the West. It was the battle of the southern drums and the western horns, which had the Ecumenical, buzzing all night, from tip-off. This game was surely a classic, with a high level of intensity, great defense from both teams, and superb offense. Cayo Western Ballaz jumped out to an early 13-2 lead, but the Dangriga Warriors was able to close the gap, knotting the score at 39 apiece at the half. At the end of the third quarter, the Ballaz was nursing a 2-point lead, and with 1 minute and 34 seconds to go, the Warriors had a 74-73 lead. However, the home team made some key turnovers down the stretch, and Cayo Western Ballaz capitalized on their mistakes with a couple layups and crucial free throws, to seal the 83-77 victory, sending them to the NEBL Finals for the second consecutive year.

Top scorer for Cayo Western Ballaz was this year’s MVP, Richard Troyer, who had the game high with 24 pts, while grabbing 8 boards and dishing out 2 assists. Rookie sensation, Akeem Watters recorded another monster game with another double-double of 22 pts and 13 rebs, and the highest player efficiency for the game with 33%; while Elvis Usher, Jr. finished the night with season high of 20 pts; and Kurt “Chengo” Burgess ripped the game high 15 rebs, while scoring 7 pts. Dangriga Warriors was led by Davis Guzman, who tallied 19 pts and 7 rebs; while Daniel “Buddy” Nolberto finished with 16 pts, 4 assists and 4 steals. Brandon Flowers netted 16 pts while pulling 7 boards; and Edgar Mitchell had a complete game with 10 pts, the game high 6 assists and the game high 5 steals, to go with 3 caroms…

With the loss, Dangriga Warriors has been eliminated from the playoffs, as Cayo Western Ballaz has advanced to the Finals, awaiting the winner of the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and Belmopan Red Taigaz semifinal series.

Belmopan Red Taigaz defeated San Pedro Tiger Sharks in Game 2; series heads to San Pedro for do-or-die Game 3

On Saturday night, the defending champions and #2 seed entering the playoffs, San Pedro Tiger Sharks (1-1) traveled to the UB gymnasium in Belmopan to take on the Belmopan Red Taigaz (1-1). A win would shoot the defending champs to the Finals for the second consecutive year, while a loss would send this series back to the island for Game 3, where the winner would advance to the Finals. The home team jumped out to an early 11-5 lead, and by half-time, the lead was extended to 36-27. With under, 5 minutes to go in the game, the score was tied at 52 apiece; but 2 huge, consecutive three-pointers by Stephen “Muerte” Williams gave the home team a 6 pt lead that they never surrendered, winning the game 64-58.
The main man for Belmopan Red Taigaz was Farron Louriano, who recorded another double-double with the game high 17 pts and game high 14 rebs. Jarrel Velasquez tallied 14 pts and 4 rebs, while Jamal Harris scored 10 pts to go with 2 boards. Stephen “Muerte” Williams finished the night with 8 pts, and 7 rebs, including two huge three-pointers down the stretch to ice the game; while Terrel Eskridge ripped 11 boards while dishing out 6 assists and scoring 5 pts. In a losing effort, San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by James Milton, who scored 13 pts to go with 5 rebs; and Ashton Edwards also sank 13 pts while coming up with the game high 6 steals. Darwin “Puppy” Leslie had an off night with only 10 pts, 4 rebs and 3 assists; while Tyrone Edwards finished the game with 8 pts, 3 boards and 3 assists…

With the win by Belmopan, these two teams will head out to San Pedro on Sunday afternoon for a third and decisive Game 3, to see who will advance to the NEBL Finals, to take on the Cayo Western Ballaz. The Red Taigaz have the odds against them, as the Tiger Sharks have never lost on their home court in two years, as they boast a perfect 17-0 record.

Tiger Sharks clinches series on the island; advances to second consecutive Finals

On Sunday afternoon, Belmopan Red Taigaz (1-2) traveled to San Pedro to take on the defending champs, San Pedro Tiger Sharks (2-1), who have never been defeated on their home court. That perfect home record remains unblemished, as the Tiger Sharks were able to win the decisive Game 3, as they have eliminated the Belmopan Red Taigaz from the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Tiger Sharks’ top scorer was Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, who had the game high with 19 pts to go with 5 rebs, 4 assists and 5 steals; while James Milton tallied 15 pts and 9 rebs. Tyrone “Mission” Edwards finished the night with 12 pts and the game high 5 assists, while Andrew Ortiz netted 10 pts to go with 5 boards. In a losing effort, Belmopan Red Taigaz was led by Farron Louriano, who had 12 pts and 9 rebs; while Jarrel Velasquez tallied 11 pts and 3 boards. Stephen “Muerte” Williams scored 10 pts to go with 6 caroms, while Terrel Eskridge finished the game with 8 pts, and 3 steals…

With the win, San Pedro Tiger Sharks are back in the Finals to defend their title. The San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs Cayo Western Ballaz is the biggest rivalry in the NEBL right now, so the Finals will surely be an exciting and intense series to follow.

Finals match-up

Cayo Western Ballaz, and San Pedro Tiger Sharks split their regular season match-ups, where each team won at home. The Ballaz defeated the Tiger Sharks by 2 points in San Ignacio in Week 2 of the regular season. In the re-match, the Tiger Sharks defeated the Western Ballaz out on the island by 3 points, after the game needed overtime to decide the winner.

This will also be a re-match of last year’s Finals, where San Pedro Tiger Sharks won in three games. This year, Cayo Western Ballaz has the #1 seed and home court advantage, while last year the defending champions were the #1 seed with the home court advantage. In the past two years, San Pedro has won 5 of the 7 games against Cayo Western Ballaz. Cayo is 2-1 against San Pedro at the SHC auditorium, but 0-4 in San Pedro, so the home court advantage in the Finals will be critical. In the past two seasons, no team has ever defeated San Pedro Tiger Sharks on their home court, as they are now 17-0 in San Pedro.

Finals schedule

On Friday night, the #1 seed, Cayo Western Ballaz (2-0) will host the #2 seed and defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks (2-1) at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, as these two teams square off in Game 1 of the NEBL Finals. The game will commence at 9:00 p.m. Game 2 of the Finals will be on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the San Pedro High School in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, as the two teams will battle for the coveted $20,000 cash prize. If the series is tied at 1 apiece, then Game 3 will be back in San Ignacio Town, where the NEBL 2015 Champions will be crowned.

NEBL 2015 – Basketball at its best!

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