A fourth quarter offensive explosion from Harold Adams propelled Victory Valley Royals to the quarterfinal round, defeating Republic Bank Nets 73-61 on Thursday in the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) ‘Road to Mecca’ National Club Championship.
With the score 46-43 in their favour going into the final period, Adams would register a whopping 15 points at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to inspire the win. The stoutly-built forward led the assault from the beginning of the period, netting eight points through layups.
However Hodayah Stewart and Michael Richards would quickly combine to pull Nets back into contention through two layups, a jump-shot and two free throws, cutting the deficit to one with the scores locked at 56-55.
Nonetheless, with 4:23s remaining on the clock, the powerful forward would ignite another 9-3 assault, netting a further five points through two layups and one free throw to push his side ahead 65-58 in the final two minutes.
A further two points would then be added to his tally before he eventually fouled out of the matchup with 43 seconds remaining at 67-60 on the score.
Ron Beckles and Chris Williams would then put the fixture beyond the reach of Nets, netting four points inclusive of two free throws by Williams in the final 20 seconds to ensure the victory.
Adams for his exploits in the final period led the scoring alongside Beckles with 24 points while Williams and Lawrence DaCosta netted eight and seven points respectively.
Richards was the top scorer for the losers with 18 points and four assists while Pelham Doris scored registered nine points, four rebounds and six steals and Stewart netted nine points.
In the earlier minutes of the opening quarter, the Linden unit took a 22-12 lead. Adams led the way with nine points by constantly attacking rim while Lawrence DaCosta battled his way to five points within the paint.
Richards was the top scorer for Nets in the opening period, shooting his way to six points littered with a three pointer, a layup and one free-throw.
The second stanza would prove to be a low scoring affair as both sides struggled for offensive fluency. Nets was better side in the period, marginally outscoring the Linden unit 12-10 to go into half time trailing 32-24.
Jermin Lovell and Antwon Austin led the Nets with four points apiece while Beckles netted four points for Royals. The early moments of the third quarter would then swing the matchup in favour of the Nets as they went on a 15-4 run to take the lead at 39-36 with 4:28 left.
Richards and Doris were the architects of the blitz, attacking the rim at will to score six points each. However not be outdone, Royals would retake the lead going into the fourth stanza, outscoring Nets 10-4 in the remaining three minutes of the period to setup up the eventual win.
Beckles led the late surge with seven points compliments of three bruising layups and a free-throw while Adams chipped in with three points highlighted by a foul shot and a mid-range jumper.
With the win, the Linden unit will faceoff with defending champions Dynas Ravens who defeated Smithfield Rockers by an 81-57 score line in the opening fixture of the night.
Marlon Rodrigues and Jermaine Slater top scored in the win with 13 points each while Akeem Kanhai supported with figures of 11 points, nine rebounds and four steals and Tyrone Hamid netted nine points.
Registering a game high 21 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the loss was Jamal Felix whilst Michael Bowen netted 10 points.
Contributing with figures of nine points and eight rebounds and four points and 18 rebounds in loss were Neil Wills and Kevon Manuel respectively.
The action is set to continue next Friday at the same venue with the Super Eight Playoffs. The Final Four section will then follow the next day while the finale will be held on March 1st at the same venue.
Winners of the tourney will pocket $400,000 and the championship trophy while second, third and fourth place finishers will receive $200,000, $150,000 and $75,000 correspondingly.
The tourney will also be used as part of the selection process for the upcoming international series against Bermuda slated to be hosted in the month of March.