SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. May 24, 2015–The NEBL playoffs kicked off this past weekend, with the top four teams advancing to a best-of-three semifinal round, where the top two teams had home court advantage. Basketball enthusiasts were given a great treat with two great games. 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
#1 seed Cayo Western Ballaz defended home court against Dangriga Warriors
On Friday night, Dangriga Warriors (0-1) traveled to San Ignacio Town to take on the #1 seed, Cayo Western Ballaz (1-0) at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium, to kick off this year’s NEBL playoffs. The Western Ballaz jumped out to an early start, claiming a 9-0 lead; but after the visitors settled down, it was deja vu all over again, as the score was knotted at 21 apiece going into the half, exactly how last week’s game unfolded in Belmopan. However, in the second half, Cayo Western Ballaz was able to assert themselves on both ends of the court, easily claiming a 65-40 victory in the best-of-three semifinals series. Cayo Western Ballaz was led by rookie Akeem Watters, who had a monster double-double with the game high 19 pts and game high 16 rebs. This year’s MVP (Richard Troyer) tallied 15 pts, 8 rebs, 2 assists and 3 steals; while Mr. Defensive Player of the Year (Kurt “Chengo” Burgess) ripped 16 boards to go with 8 pts, 6 assists and 2 blocked shots; and Ivan Flowers finished the night with 8 pts, 4 boards and 3 assists. In a losing effort, Dangriga Warriors’ leading scorer was Edgar Mitchell with 12 pts to go with 4 boards, 2 assists and 3 steals, and he was the only player in double-digit scoring for his squad. Daniel Nolberto and Brandon Flowers scored 8 pts apiece, while Macario Augustine scored 4 pts to go with 9 rebs…
This series will now move to Dangriga next week Friday, as Dangriga Warriors will have to win to extend the series to a deciding game 3 back in San Ignacio. With a win in Dangriga, Cayo Western Ballaz would advance to the NEBL Finals for the second consecutive year.
Defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks wins game 1 on the island
On Saturday night, the defending champions and #2 seed entering the playoffs, San Pedro Tiger Sharks (1-0) hosted Belmopan Red Taigaz (0-1) in San Pedro at the San Pedro High School in the first match-up in their best-of-three series. The defending champs jumped out to a great start, taking a 13 pt lead against Belmopan Red Taigaz; but at the end of the third quarter, Belmopan was able to close the huge gap to trail by only 1 pt, entering the fourth quarter. However, San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to hold on to their lead in the final quarter of the game, to claim a 74-72 victory on their home court. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by the hot shooting of Ashton Edwards, who had the game high of 25 pts, while grabbing 5 boards. Edwards shot 67% from the field, hitting 10 of his 15 field goals, with three 3-pointers and nailing both free throws at the charity stripe. Darwin “Puppy” Leslie tallied 17 pts, 6 rebs and 3 assists; while Tyrone Edwards sank 9 pts, while dishing out 4 assists; and Milton James finished the night with 9 pts and 4 rebs. In a losing effort, Belmopan Red Taigaz’ top scorer was Terrel Eskridge, who had 15 pts and 6 rebs; while Jarrel Velasquez tallied 13 pts, 3 boards and 2 assists; and Farron Louriano, 13 pts and 6 rebs.
With the win, the defending champions are one game away from advancing to the NEBL Finals for the second consecutive year. Belmopan Red Taigaz will head back home in a must-win game this coming Saturday at the UB gymnasium, to send back the series to San Pedro in a do or die game 3 for a spot in the championship series.
NEBL dishes out season awards
Below are the individual awards for this year’s NEBL season. Awards will be given out to players before their home games in the playoffs. The scoring title went to Gregory “Chippy” Rudon from Belize City No Limit, who scored 23.7 points/game; while the top rebounder for two consecutive years is Kurt “Chengo” Burgess from Cayo Western Ballaz, who ripped 12.1 boards/game. New comer to the league, Terrel Eskridge from Belmopan Red Taigaz dished out 4.25 assists per game, to claim the honors; while Kurt “Chengo” Burgess was voted as Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. The Coach of the Year honors went to Douglas Smith of Cayo Western Ballaz, who had the best record going into the playoffs; and the Regular Season MVP was awarded to Richard Troyer from Cayo Western Ballaz. The last three awards were voted on by the team managers, one vote from the Commissioner and one vote from the Belize Basketball Federation. The All Star MVP was Farron Louriano from Belmopan Red Taigaz, who tallied 26 pts and 8 rebs with a 33% efficiency rating. The league would like to congratulate all these players for their superb performance on the court.
On Friday night, Cayo Western Ballaz (1-0) will travel to the cultural capital to take on Dangriga Warriors (0-1) at the Ecumenical College at 9:00 p.m. This is a must-win game for Dangriga Warriors, since a win by Cayo Western Ballaz will shoot them to the NEBL Finals. If a game three is necessary, Dangriga Warriors will travel to San Ignacio Town to take on Cayo Western Ballaz on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium.
On Saturday night, the defending champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks (1-0) will travel to Belmopan to take on the Belmopan Red Taigaz at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan at 8:00 p.m. With a win, San Pedro will return to the Finals to defend their title. If Belmopan Red Taigaz wins and evens up the series, 1-1, Belmopan Red Taigaz will travel back to San Pedro on Saturday, June 6, for the third and decisive game 3. NEBL 2015 – Basketball at its best!