25 March 2008

SEYCHELLES : Jhelum Cup - Men’s finalists to be known this week

DEFENDING champions Premium Cobras were the last of the four teams to make the semifinals of the Jhelum Cup (the new name of the annual Curtain-raiser tournament) which enters the semifinal stage today.

The Cobras completed the semifinal line-up last Thursday at Victoria Gymnasium when after having trailed the Rockers for the whole of the first half, bridged a 13-point gap thanks to a huge third quarter performance during which they outscored their opponents 27-7.
With a healthy 14-point lead (58-44), the Cobras added to their total with another 26 fourth-quarter points compared to MBU Rockers’ 16 for an 84-61 quarterfinal win.
In only his second match with his new team, Nigerian point guard Alao Solomon looked on fire for the Cobras, leading all scores with 33 individual points including three 3-pointers.
He was helped in offence by bench player Steve Allisop with 15 points, while Seychelles’ international power forward Dominic Pillay did a good job coming off the substitutes’ bench to dominate the boards – both offensively and defensively – to get 11 points.
Fired up to play against his former team, Seychelles’ swingman Cyril Agrippine looked capable of killing the Cobras on his own in the first half until he received a knock on his nose and had to leave the game for a while. Although he got back onto the court, he just could not have the same effect as during the first half.
Agrippine, who joined the Rockers last year after sitting out the whole 2006 season when he decided not to play for Premium Cobras – the team he joined in 1994 after playing for the Mont Fleuri Neutrons in 1992 and 1993 – finished with 32 points, among those nine from beyond the three-point range.
In tomorrow’s second semifinal encounter at 5.15 p.m. at Victoria Gymnasium, Premium Cobras will meet Baya who had no trouble dispatching Division Two outfit AAP Brothers thanks to a big 116-51win.
Skippered by Seychelles international Dave Roseline who led them in scoring with a game-high 21 points, Baya had four other players – Robert Léon (18 points), Jean-Paul Camille (17), Giovanni Laval (17) and Michael Cupidon (10) – scoring in double digits.
Théodore Marguerite led AAP Brothers in scoring with 15 points, including three treys.
In today’s first men’s semifinal encounter, PLS Hawks will entertain Angels. Still without Ugandan all-rounder Stephen Omony who is out of the country and playmaker Thomas Collie unavailable for selection due to an injury, the Hawks also reached the century mark against last year’s losing finalists Cascade Bullets.
Coach Tony Juliette’s PLS Hawks won the match 106-68 and got balanced scoring from his players as six of them – veteran power forward Jim Domingue (25 points), Bernard Bristol (18), Barry Baron (15), Nigel Annette (14), Neddy ‘Oye’ Fanchette (12) and Emmanuel Jupiter (10) – scored in double figures.

Newcomer Christopher Camille led the Bullets in scoring with 23 points, while Kenneth Sophie added 16 as the two combined for 39 points – more than half of their team’s total.

Like Baya and PLS Hawks, Angels also hit the century mark as they disposed of Division Tow side Juniors 101-81 in a quarterfinal match-up.

With captain Darren Lesperance scoring just two points, Daniel Dodin took over the scoring responsibility for Anse Boileau-based Angels with 23 points and he was helped in offence by Michel Agathine with 17 points, Chabel Servina with 17, while both Collin Japhet and David Boniface added 13 apiece.

As for Juniors, both skipper Reggie Ah-Kong and Martin Asba made 15-point contributions and Yannick Ally added 13.

The winners of the two semifinals will clash in Saturday’s final scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Palais des Sports.

Meanwhile, the women’s finalists are HotShots and Anse Etoile Stars.

HotShots’ Tina Agathine (16 points) and power forward Myra Solin (14 points) combined for 30 of their team’s points in the 48-30 win over RA Sisters in the semifinal.
As for Anse Etoile Stars who rested Simone Malbrook for their semifinal encounter against Juniors, they had Zita Siméon (16 points), Georgia Désir (14 points) and Dynah Louis (12 points) scoring in double figures in the 69-28 win.
It is to note that veteran Simone Malbrook scored the game’s last two free-throws to give the Stars a 44-42 win against HotShots in the Charity match played earlier in the season.

G. G.

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