Says Rawle Toney
Tonight basketball fanatics will be in for a treat when the 2009 Next Level Entertainment (NLE) tournament continues at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with defending champions Courts Pacesetters facing Kashif and Shanghai Kings and Victory Valley Royals coming up against Bounty Colts.
It’s no secret that the Kings/Pacesetters match is considered as a virtual final. As a matter of fact, it will be the rematch of the 2007 final where Pacesetters stopped the Kings who had won the first installation of the tournament in 2006.
The `Kings’ need no introduction since they are undoubtedly one of the better teams in Guyana.
But Pacesetters, who is the top club in Georgetown, has over the past two years been the team to beat.
The last time the two sides met was in the Brusches’ Basketball Classic in Linden last year during the town’s annual town week celebration where the city team prevailed.
Since then, things have taken a dramatic turn for the Kings as they were relegated to second division status by the Linden Amateur Basketball Association (LABA).
On the other hand, their opponents tonight, went on to win several tournaments including the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) first division league.
But this should not be used as a yardstick to measure the outcome of tonight’s clash.
While Pacesetters have been relying on their centres to do most of the work with Royston Siland leading the way, the Kings have been relying heavily on the rotation of their guards; Steve Neils jr., Marvin Hartman and the veteran Abdullah `Zico’ Hamid.
Neils is considered Guyana’s best point guard with his skill and knowledge of the game while Hartman can be a thorn in any team’s flesh.
Then there is player/Hamid who is responsible for orchestrating all of the moves.
Hamid’s battles will be both on and off the court where he will compete with his former national team-mate Bobby Cadogan, coach of the Pacesetters team.
Stephon Gillis has been in superb form as well and in some cases he had singled-handedly bailed Pacesetters out of many ditches and he is expected to produce tonight along with Naylon Loncke who plays the same position.
For the Kings, their centre, the towering Jason Alonzo is expected to form an alliance with power forward Omally Sampson to round off the front court for the Linden team.
Meanwhile, the Royals/Colts game too will spark a good start to the night since many basketball pundits believe that the game can go either way.
One player from the Royals camp, Dwayne “Brown Sugar” Roberts, said that he is determined to come out victorious. Roberts, this season, has been the backbone of the Royals offence and defence. Point guard Anson Durant and their marksman Troy Jeffery will form a coalition with Roberts to lead the Royals offensive challenge against a struggling but still lethal Bounty Colts.
The city team did not have a good GABA first division season but they should not be counted out since they have a good bunch of players with the likes of veteran centre Dane Kendal who can come up big on any given night.
Tonight’s action will bounce off at 7:30 pm sharp.