SAN IGNACIO, Cayo District, Sat. Apr. 27, 2019–The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tipped off its playoffs this past weekend with Games 1 in best-of-three games semi-finals series. This weekend will witness two must-win games to push the series to a third and deciding game. The 2 winners will then advance to a best-of-five series for the finals.
Hurricanes stuns Verdes with Rene’s game-winning 3-point shot
On Friday night, number 1 seed Verdes hosted the defending champions, Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes at the Sacred Heart College auditorium in San Ignacio Town. Hurricanes led by 2 points, 43–41, going into intermission. Verdes then regrouped at half time and grabbed a 64–54 lead going into the fourth and final quarter, where they led the entire quarter. However, costly turnovers down the stretch allowed Hurricanes to keep the game within reach, where Eyan Rene hit the game winning 3-point shot with 16 seconds left in the game, giving Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes the 78–76 road victory.
Hurricanes – Tyrie Orosco 24 pts 8 rebs, Devin Daly 21 pts 9 rebs 6 assts 2 stls, and Shannon Fowler and Eyan Rene 9 pts apiece.
Verdes – Regular Season MVP, Kris Frazier 30 pts 15 rebs, Richard Troyer 15 pts 4 rebs 3 assts 2 stls, Elvis Usher, Jr. 11 pts 8 stls, and Leroy Louriano 9 pts.
With the win, Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes has now grabbed home court advantage, and can close out the best-of-three series on Friday night at the Civic Center in Belize City. Verdes must win on Friday to force a game 3 back at the Sacred Heart College auditorium, and more than likely they will be without the services of their guard, Tyrone Hall; while Hurricanes’ point guard Glency “Coope” Lopez should be back in action for game 2.
Tiger Sharks steals game one in Griga to take series lead
Also on Friday, San Pedro Tiger Sharks travelled down south to the cultural capital to take on the #2 seed, Griga Dream Ballers at the Russell “Chiste” Garcia Auditorium in Dangriga Town. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to keep the loud auditorium at bay, jumping out to an early 20–15 lead, which they increased to 41–33 at the half. San Pedro was able to maintain this lead the entire game, grabbing a 78–69 game 1 victory.
Tiger Sharks – Jihad Wright 23 pts 12 rebs 2 assts 2 stls, Martevuius Adams and Ashton Edwards 14 pts each, Francis Arana 10 rebs 6 pts 5 dimes 4 sts, and Keith Pollard 8 pts.
Griga Dream Ballers – Daniel Conorque 15 pts 5 rebs 5 assts, Macario Augustine 12 pts 9 reb, Jamal Kelly and Najib Casimiro 10 pts each, and Delvon Henderson 8 pts 5 rebs.
With the win, San Pedro Tiger Sharks will sail back home to defend their turf on Saturday on a quest to get back to the NEBL finals for the fifth time in 6 years. Griga must regroup and travel to San Pedro in an attempt to regain home court advantage and bring the series back with them to Dangriga.
It is the first time in league history that the top two teams lost game 1 in the semi-finals.
(Check our webpage at neblbelize.com)
Below is the schedule for game 2 of the semi-finals:
Friday, May 3, at 9:00 p.m.: Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes (#4) vs Verdes (#1) at the Belize Civic Center
Saturday, May 4, at 9:00 p.m.: San Pedro Tiger Sharks (#3) vs Griga Dream Ballers (#2) at the San Pedro High School in San Pedro Town
If a game 3 is necessary, below is the schedule:
Friday, May, 10 at 9:00 p.m.: Verdes (#1) vs Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes (#4) at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town
Saturday, May 11, at 9:00 p.m.: Griga Dream Ballers (#2) vs San Pedro Tiger Sharks (#3) at the Russell “Chiste” Garcia Auditorium in Dangriga Town