Photo: Undefeated 24/8 U-18 Champs
BELIZE CITY, Sun. May 14, 2023
The eighth annual Ahmadiyya Basketball League (ABL) Belize 2023 tournament concluded today at the Belize Civic Centre with 5 championship games.
This year’s tournament, which started back on January 22nd, saw the participation of 55 teams competing in 16 games every Sunday at the SJC gymnasium’s courts, and 20 games played in the single elimination semi-finals for two Sundays, culminating in today’s championships.
The annual tournament, says Rodvern Lino, the Ahmadiyya Basketball League Commissioner, started 8 years ago with only 8 teams. In a press conference in January, he said that ABL had succeeded in offering insurance to the players in case they sustained any injuries during the tournament.
He told the media on January 19th, “The new addition to this year we will be having is, we would notice that in the past we would have athletes who would be injured during the season, so what we have done as a league was decided to speak to one of the insurance companies who would be providing a subsidized rate for the athletes, whosoever would like to sign up for it, so that they could be protected during the season and throughout the remainder of the year.”
This year’s tournament featured five categories, Under-12, Under-15, Under-18, Under-22, and Open, with the return of the U-12 after a year’s break, and included an All-Star break with three-point, slam down and skills competitions.
(U-12) The U-12 Championship game opened the day’s matches, and undefeated ABS Hard Rock remained the cream of the crop, defeating Samuel’s Warriors, 23-12.
Leading scorer with 11 points, Arnes Myles was chosen MVP, while his teammate Asher Garnett added 8 points.
For sub-champions Samuel’s Warriors, Zachary Lord (8 points) was awarded “Sportsmanship of the Year”. He was assisted by Kai Samuel and Joshai Morris with 2 points apiece.
(U-15) Undefeated Savage Storm beat Falcons, 37-28, to claim the U-15 championship.
Euan Wade (19 points) was named MVP. He was assisted by Devin Marshall with 7 points. The Falcons’ Edward “E.J.” Thompson, Jr. with 13 points was awarded “Sportsmanship of the Year”.
(U-18) Undefeated 24/8 defeated Orange Walk Rebels, Jr., 48-32, to become the 2023 ABL U-18 Champions.
They were led by the very talented Michael Caceres, their leading scorer with 20 points, who was named MVP. He was assisted by the equally talented Jason Orosco who scored 12 points.
For Orange Walk Rebels, Tevaughn Dawson with 8 points was awarded “Sportsmanship of the Year,” while his teammate Jamar Higinio was their leading scorer with 9 points.
24/8 head coach Roscoe Rhys was also named the U-18 Coach of the Year. Similarly, Linbert Moody of ABS Hard Rock (U12), and Travis Santos of Savage Storm (U-15) were also named “Coach of the Year” for their respective divisions.
(U-22) In the U-22 Championship match, UB Black Jaguars was surprised by Northside Ballers, 37-34, despite the presence of BEBL star Jayden Lopez who scored 9 points for the Jaguars.
Jonathan DeCosta, the game’s leading scorer with 15 points, was chosen MVP. His teammate Fredrick Lord scored 13. Alizaire Rhaburn of UB with 11 points was awarded “Sportsmanship of the Year”.
Winning coach Glenn Linares (Northside Ballers) was named Coach of the Year U-22.
(Open) The Open championship game was a decisive 79-45 victory for undefeated Hard Rock over Orange Walk Dynapros.
The dynamic Justin Wade of the champions was leading scorer with 18 points and named MVP, while his teammate Fisal Ahmad poured in 14.
Orange Walk Dynapros’ Tarique Dawson (6 points) was chosen for “Sportsmanship of the Year.” His teammate Tyrone Baptist led the team with 12 points.
Hard Rock coach Marcel Richards was named Coach of the Year (Open).