10 August 2006

SEYCHELLES : Cobras avenge first-round defeat

Mont Fleuri’s Premium Cobras exacted revenge on Baya in their second-round league encounter over the weekend as they brushed aside Michel Malbrook’s team 70-52 to erase the bitter memories of a 63-66 defeat suffered earlier in the league. The win is Cobras seventh in nine matches and it gets their title hope back on track after they had also endured a loss to Angels, 79-76, in their previous match. Until the defeat against Anse Boileau-based Angels, Cobras were well on their way to a first league title in three years after they had gained the upper hand over their rivals PLS Hawks in the first round.

The memory of their defeat to Baya in late May still fresh in their minds, Cobras were extra careful in their strategies on Saturday and came all out to prevent history from repeating itself.

After some early jitters during which Baya remained level on points with Cobras, the latter, coached by Jude Talma, accelerated in the latter stages of the first quarter to take it with a 11-7 score.

James Bier, Cobras’ and the match’s top scorer with 21 points, took things in his stride in the second quarter after a scoreless first ten minutes of play. Combining two roles, as shooting guard and at times as play-maker, he totalled eight points in the quarter to bring the score to 28-19 in his team’s favour at half-time. Baya had no solution to his piercing runs which left them exposed and allowed other Cobras players to chip in with an occasional basket of their own.

Cobras enjoyed their best spell in the third quarter which they won 21-12, bringing the score to 49-31 to almost kill off the match.

But after dominating the third quarter effortlessly, Cobras took to the court casually for the final ten minutes of play only to be swiftly awakened by Baya’s man-to-man full-court approach which almost gifted the Bel Airians a shot at victory. In no time Cobras 18-point lead was reduced to fewer than 10 points as Baya, led by their skipper Dave Roseline, who finished with 12 points, and the surprising B. Cherry, Baya’s top scorer with 13 points, pushed their opponent to their limits. Fortunately for Cobras, Bier was still up to the task and he responded twice to three-pointers from Roseline and S. Denis, with two three-pointers of his own. Baya finally ran out of steam towards the end of the match and allowed Cobras to level the score at 21-21 in the quarter and conclude the match at 70-52.

The win allows Cobras to take a two-point lead at the top of the men's division 1A standings. They have 16 points from nine matches, two more than their eternal rivals PLS Hawks and the surprising SMB Razorback, who were not in action during the weekend.

In two other matches played last Saturday, MBU Rockers had the better of RC Dynamics 52-40, while Praslin Warriors were beaten by Pte Larue Falcons 56-65 in a division 1B encounter.

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