28 March 2008

SEYCHELLES : Men’s Jhelum Cup - Baya through to final at Premium Cobras’ expense

PLS HAWKS v BAYA. That’s the match-up for tomorrow’s men’s Jhelum Cup final and it’s going to be a repeat of the Charity match played on Sunday March 2 to officially open the 2008 season.

In Wednesday’s second semifinal encounter of the Jhelum Cup (the new name of the annual Curtain-raiser tournament) played at Victoria Gymnasium, Baya dethroned champions Premium Cobras, depriving them of a third successive trip to the final and an attempt to win the title three times in a row. With a 12-point margin victory – 84-72 – Baya look good to conquer and their final prey will be the Hawks who are themselves good at hunting down opponents in big games.
Fielding a starting six of Jean-Paul ‘JP’ Camille, Steve Denis, Hendricks Denis, Robert Léon and Nigel Cafrine, Baya’s coach Michel Malbrook went for speed and the ability to execute in attack. His players responded to the call as they outscored Premium Cobras 24-18 in the opening quarter.
With skipper-of-the-day Steve Denis firing on all cylinders – bagging 13 of his 26 points in the first half – it was just no stopping Baya who want to play the lead role this year.
Playing with an all-Seychellois line-up, Baya only lost the second quarter by one point – 19-20 – but they were able to come back and dominate Premium Cobras, winning the other two quarters 21-17 and 20-17 for a famous win and a place in the final.
Other than Steve Denis, Robert Léon (13 points) and ‘JP’ (12 points) made double digit contributions in Baya’s victory.
Like against MBU Rockers in the quarterfinal, Nigerian shooting guard Alao Solomon carried the Cobras’ scoring load with 27 points and it proved to be the game-leading mark, but not enough to earn his new team a place in the final.
Having already gunned down the Hawks 71-64 in the Charity match, tomorrow’s final looks to be an interesting affair.
A former playmaker with PLS Hawks and the Seychelles national team, coach Malbrook is ready to guide Baya to victory tomorrow.
“Against PLS Hawks in the final, we will take the same approach as we did when we played Premium Cobras. We will be all out for a win,” he said.
Malbrook’s opposite number, Tony Juliette said that “I was expecting Premium Cobras to reach the final. It’s Bay and my team have to play despite missing some players through injury. It is important we get a win on Saturday to put us in good heart for the IOCC.”
It is to note that defending League and Cup champions PLS Hawks eliminated Anse Boileau-based Angels 95-67 in the first semifinal played on Tuesday.

by G. G.

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