Sports — 18 March 2017 — by Bernard Wagner
NEBL “In the Paint”

Dream Ballers begin push for the playoffs

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 16, 2017–The push for the playoffs heats up this weekend, as the second-half of the 2017 NEBL Championship resumes with the surprising Dangriga Dream Ballers paying a visit to the Running Rebels at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex in Orange Walk Town on Saturday night.  The latter currently stands at (2-4), and obviously will be looking to forget their last outing, which saw them lose in a painful fashion to the Western Ballaz, blowing a 66-61 third quarter lead, and being outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter, ultimately losing by the score of 97-83.

GAME NIGHT MATCH-UP STATS

Running Rebels 74.5PPG 31.1RPG 17.0APG
Dream Ballers 76.5PPG 53.6RPG 13.3APG

KEY PLAYERS

Elvis Olivera Rebels 8.1PPG 4.8RPG 1.1APG 53.0 F/G%
Quinton Bowen Dream Ballers 15.1PPG 12.1RPG 3.1APG 48.0F/G%

If there ever was a must-win game, Saturday’s match-up is such a game for the hometown Rebels, who will undoubtedly need to play with a sense of urgency. Head coach Brads Neal has indicated to “Inside the Paint” that “his core of young players needs to grow up and grow up fast.” They must play the entire game, not just three quarters, but the entire four quarters, said Neal. They will indisputably require steady guard play from their floor general, Randy Usher, and consistent scoring from Roger Reneau (15.8 ppg). Neal explained that he also wants to see more harmony and better team spirit, which, according to him, has been absent, lending for a very toxic locker-room. Unity, according to him, produces better team chemistry, which, in the long run, should produce better results. On the court, he is hoping that the play of new-comer Leon Jacobs could provide a further boost for his team and thus put them over the hump, which should be a tall order against the (4-2) Dream Ballers.

Frankly speaking, this is a nightmare match-up for the Rebels, and for most of the league, to put it mildly. The Ballers are a much more physical and taller team than the Rebels. They are relentless on the boards, leading the league in rebounds, with Tahj Wells (13 rpg) and Quinton Bowen (12.1 rpg) sitting at 1-2 in the league’s rebounding category. They also possess size in the backcourt in Dillmore Conorquie, and their bench is formidable. The key to this game will rest on how effective Elvis Olivera and his teammates can box-out the Ballers’ rebounders and limit second chance opportunities. This is not a good match-up for the Rebels; “In the Paint” predicts the Ballers in this one.

Dangriga-Dream-Ballers'-Tah

Dangriga-Dream-Ballers'-Qui


 

Hurricanes – Must-win scenario Friday night against the Ballaz

GAME NIGHT MATCH-UP STATS

Western Ballaz 75.2PPG 40.5RPG 13.1APG
Hurricanes 78.1PPG 41.3RPG 12.0APG

KEY PLAYERS

Richard Troyer Ballaz 14.0PPG 7.0RPG 2.0APG 35.0 F/G%
Leroy Louriano Hurricanes 12.3PPG 3.0RPG 3.8APG 44.0F/G%

Friday, March 17–With just 2 wins in their first 6 games, head coach Darren Bovell and the defending champs, Hurricanes are obviously looking at tonight’s game as a “must win.” The question that then rises is, “or what?” If tonight’s game is a must win, what does it mean if they don’t win? Will they have no chance of making post-season play? Of course not. Will the season be considered a disappointment? More than likely. However, what makes this game important is not the consequences of a loss, but the implications. The results of this game will tell us a great deal about what this team really is made of, and what we should expect as we enter the second half of the season. With a win tonight on the road, in a difficult place for visitors, with the noisiest and most supportive home-team fan base, the defending champs should stay relevant in post-season dialogue. With a loss, however, they sink deeper into an unfamiliar abyss. But, as they say in sports, you should never underestimate the heart of a champion, and I expect to see the defending champs rise to the occasion. The Hurricanes’ young core of Watters, Ortiz, Lopez and White, enters tonight’s (Friday) game with an obvious chip on their shoulders, as they grapple to dispel first-half frustrations, mixed in with their fans’ high expectations and the responsibility thrown at them to replace arguably Belize’s best player in Darwin Leslie.

According to Hurricanes head coach Darren Bovell, he will tinker with the starting line-up somewhat, so as to ensure that he has a cohesive unit on the floor, that is able to bring intense man-to-man defense for the entire game. He explained that his team had faced some early season challenges, but he emphasized that “it’s always better to face those challenges earlier rather than later.”

The Ballaz, on the other hand, are riding high after their impressive showing last week on the road, winning by the score of 97-83 over the Rebels. They will be looking for more of the same from Richard Troyer, Darwin Leslie and Daniel Nolberto. In the Paint calls this one in favor of the visiting Hurricanes.Hurricanes'-Leroy-Louriano-

Darwin-Leslie-of-the-Wester

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