It is the business end of the round-robin phase of the National Club Basketball Championship which is dubbed “Road to Mecca V’ and the teams are going hard at each other for places in Sunday’s semifinals at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH).
On Wednesday night, a fair sized crowd witnessed three exhilarating contests which saw Kobras defeating Amelia’s Ward Jets 70-60, their fourth consecutive win to top group ‘B’ and secure the second semifinal spot after defending champions Colts won all five of their round-robin matches to top group ‘A’.
Dyna’s Ravens edged Retrieve Raiders 52-51 in a closely contested match that allowed them to keep their chances of being the other team to survive group ‘A’ alive while crushing Plaisance Guardians’, who defeated Half Mile Bulls 90-80, hope of a semifinal berth.
Surprisingly, Kobras had lost their first group match to Eagles but they used that defeat as motivation and the team that finished third in last year’s Mecca IV finished group ‘B’ with eight points.
Leading Kobras in Wednesday’s win were Trevor Smith (13 points) and usual stand out performer Travis Burnett (12) while Joel Webster, brother of national centre and arguably one of the best players in the tournament; Shane Webster, netted a game-high 15 points in a losing effort for Jets.
Plaisance Guardians (that were tasked to win their final two matches then creed for a Ravens’ loss in their match against Raiders) won the first match of the night against Bulls in vain as Raven’s narrowly defeated Raiders by one-point in the dying seconds of the third match-up of the night.
Akeem Crandon (24 points) was absolutely outstanding for Guardians while Nikolai Smith supported him well with 20 points. Bulls’ Terron Welch continued his good form with a game-high 25 points. Dominic Vincente (19) was instrumental in Ravens’ last gasp win over the Raiders.
Kobras’ Marvin Durant, who transferred for Pacesetters Basketball Club this season, has been playing well in his first season at the First Division level and he expressed satisfaction with his new club that have qualified for the knockouts which takes them one step closer to the $600,000 first place prize.
”It’s definitely an extra motivation being able to play 1st division which is an honour for any basketball player in Guyana and making my debut and helping my team top their group is an incredible boost of confidence for me,” Durant related following his team’s victory on Wednesday night.
This evening, the penultimate day of preliminary matches, will see two matches at the same venue from 19:00hrs when Eagles bounce against Linden’s Victory Valley Royals while the feature match from 22:00hrs pits Half Mile Bulls and Canje Knights.
The second place finishers of Mecca V will pocket $400,000 and 3rd place, $300,000. Meanwhile, the MVP’s reward is $200,000, player with the Most Points, Most Rebounds and Most Improved Player will receive $100,000 each.
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