Guyanese women win GBBS C/ship in Antigua
-Redjet leaves them stranded, GABF intervenes
By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s female basketball team remained unbeaten to win the 12th edition
of the Gillian Brazier Basketball Shoot-Out (GBBS) in Antigua after blowing out CPTSA Wings Sunday night in what can be called a lopsided final at the JSC Sports Complex.
However, the team’s 74-34 victory to wrap up the tournament with a 5-0 record with wins versus St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua Select and Combined among others, was overshadowed with the unfortunate news that Redjet had cancelled its service to Guyana.
In the final, the starters got a reportedly slow start, but wore the opposition down when forward, Nicola Jacobs came off the bench with a knee injury and immediately made an impact in the game; she and Timike Joseph got the offence going.
Junior Tamara Hunter stood out with 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. The United States-based, Shauntelle Nelson was named MVP and was also added to the All-Star team, along with Jacobs and the extremely talented forward, Natasha Alder.
The local team’s coach, Bernard Daniels was named All-Star Coach. The success of the unit was grossly undermined with the untimely cancellation of Redjet’s flights to Guyana. The low budget carrier blamed the plane’s hydraulic system for the cancellations. The national unit is among 132 passengers, who the cancellation has adversely affected.
The team was expected back tomorrow with the Barbados-based carrier that has also cancelled flights to Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados destinations. Up to press time yesterday, Kaieteur Sport was able to ascertain brief information on the latest status of the team.
President of the Guyana Women’s Basketball Association, Michaela Burnett indicated that there were efforts afoot to have the team in Guyana today. She said that David Patterson, President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), was facilitating that move.
According to Burnett, Patterson was in last minute negotiations with carrier Liat to have the team in the country today. She could not give further details, and efforts to reach the GABF President for comment on the issue proved futile.
In an email, Redjet assured the women’s team of a refund, and apologised for the inconvenience it has caused the athletes. Redjet’s Route Development Executive, Reco Lewis was unable to get any details on the carrier’s resumption of its service yesterday.
“In the event that the return segment for the team is affected they are eligible to be re-accommodated on the next available flight or a full refund for the affected segment,” Lewis said in an email to Burnett.
The situation caused some amount of panic and discomfort in the team. Senior players expressed concern over of being unsure of when they will return to Guyana after competing. Issues such as their work and school commitments were revealed.
“Wednesday we were to leave this country but it’s not possible. Now we have to make money to use another airline; we have to get like US$2700 more to go back home. The next flight home to Guyana is on Friday I think,” one player indicated from Antigua.
“Our accommodations at the hotel are up to Wednesday (tomorrow), so we have a lot of thinking over here to do. If we don’t find the money to go on the next flight Friday, we might as well take a vacation here,” another player jokingly said last night.