SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Cayo District, Sun. May 26, 2019– The playoffs bounced along this past weekend in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), as game 2 was played at the Civic Center in Belize City on Friday night, and game 3 sailed out to the island on Saturday night in its best-of-five final.
Game 2 – Hurricanes survive late rally from Tiger Sharks to win 82–79; series tied at 1-1
by Charleston Gladden
After a disappointing game 1 loss in San Pedro, Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes regrouped and strategized in preparation for game 2 on their home court at the Civic Centre. From the tip, Hurricanes opened up aggressively with their suffocating defence, but San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to match their intensity. However, due to the Tiger Sharks’ lack of speed to match the Hurricanes young, quick core, they found themselves down double-digits at the end of the first quarter, 25-15. In the second quarter, San Pedro utilized the size of Martevuius Adams to provide scoring down low in the post, but, unfortunately, still found themselves down at halftime, 45–38. Throughout the second half, the Hurricanes kept their lead unreachable for the Tiger Sharks; however, the lead was cut to a mere six points, and was eventually tied at 66 with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. As time was winding down, Hurricanes knew the stakes were high if they were to fall to 0-2 in these finals, and travelling to San Pedro the following day for game 3. As a result, Hurricanes executed their offense fluently and clamped their defence, thus giving them a victory and evening out these finals, finishing with a score of 82–79.
Akeem Watters earned Player of the Game honours, leading Hurricanes with 19 pts 5 rebs and 2 stls. Brian White chipped in with 12 pts and 7 rebs, while Shannon Fowler earned himself a double-double of 11 pts and 10 rebs along with 4 assts and 3 blks.
Martevuius Adams led San Pedro Tiger Sharks with a game high of 23 pts and 9 rebs. Francis Arana contributed 20 pts and 6 rebs, and Ashton Edwards tallied 15 pts and 4 assts coming off the bench.
Hurricanes’ Brian White received a technical foul, while Glency Lopez suffered from a left ankle sprain at 4:24 of the 2nd quarter, and it will be a game-time decision whether he’ll be active for game 3 in San Pedro.
Tiger Sharks’ Francis Arana fouled out playing 29 minutes, while Gene Myvett and Martevuius Adams accumulated 4 fouls each in the game. Tiger Sharks only held a one-point lead in the first quarter.
Game 3 – Arana’s career high propelled Tiger Sharks to a 2–1 series lead
With the best-of-five series tied at 1 apiece, game 3 headed out to the island, as San Pedro Tiger Sharks hosted Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes at the San Pedro High School auditorium on Saturday night. The home team was able to jump out to an early 22–12 lead at the end of the first quarter, which they were able to slightly extend, going into intermission, 44–33. At the end of the third quarter the lead was 9 points, 77–69, and San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to maintain this lead with less than 3 minutes remaining in the game. However, with some sloppy play from Tiger Sharks and a few forced shots, Hurricanes was able to trim the lead to a one-possession game with a few seconds remaining; but they were unable to convert the three-point attempt to tie the game. As a result, the home squad was able to survive the late comeback, to grab the 3-point victory, 81–78, along with the 2–1 series lead.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by Francis Arana, who had the game high and career high with 26 pts, shooting 6 for 8 from behind the arc and 64% from the field, to go with 4 stls and 4 assts. Jihad Wright tallied 19 pts and 4 assts, while Martevuius Adams finished with 13 pts and 7 rebs.
Shannon Fowler was the top scorer for Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes with 17 pts and 7 rebs, while Raheem Thurton had his playoff career high with 15 pts to go with 2 rebs and 2 assts. Akeem Watters and Devin Daly netted 12 and 10 pts, respectively, while Eyan Rene chipped in 9 pts.
Hurricanes had the 26–17 advantage when it came to bench points, but San Pedro Tiger Sharks had the 10–3 edge on second chance points.
With the win, San Pedro Tiger Sharks is 1 win away from being this year’s NEBL champions, while Hurricanes must win the remaining 2 games in the series to claim that title.
A champion will be crowned this weekend
Game 4 of the NEBL Finals will be played on Friday, May 31 at the Civic Center, starting at 9:00 p.m.
If a game 5 is needed, a date and time will be announced next week. The initially scheduled date and time (Saturday, June 1 at 9:00 p.m.) for Game 5 has been cancelled, given that the venue will be unavailable at that date/time.
All scores, standings, player statistics and team statistics can be found on our webpage at neblbelize.com
Upcoming Finals schedule
Game 4 – Friday, May 31 at 9:00 p.m.: Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes (#4) vs San Pedro Tiger Sharks (#3) at Belize Civic Center
Game 5 (if necessary) – At a date and time to be announced next week.