29 September 2008

SEYCHELLES : Baya scorch Hawks to close in on first title win

BAYA players were tuned into what coach Michel Malbrook wanted the team to do and they kept shooting from all over the court and from every angle. By the end of Saturday’s lopsided 88-65 win against defending champions PLS Hawks, they had one hand on the Men’s Division One league trophy.

Convincing wins against Premium Cobras (83-72) and MBU Rockers (92-62) in their last two matches had confirmed Baya’s purple patch as they showed their fans and neutral supporters that they have matured.

Against PLS Hawks who had beaten them 88-78 in the first-round match-up, Baya had to get an 11-point difference victory to stay in the title race. They did it with an even bigger margin – 23 points – something which on paper looked almost impossible.
“I wanted this win and it’s a crushing win,” said coach Malbrook to Sports Nation after Baya steamrollered PLS Hawks whom he helped win trophies during his days as a playmaker.

Baya trailed 13-16 at the end of the first quarter, but asserted their grip on the match when sharp shooter Jean-Paul ‘JP’ Camille was given some breathing space by the Hawks defenders. He got 17 of his game-leading 34 points in the second 10-minute spell which Baya won 27-15 to lead 40-31 at half-time.

When Seychelles centre Rodney Lozé, who came on as a substitute, fouled out with 2.8 seconds left to play in the third quarter and the Hawks trailing by 11 points – 43-54 – coach Tony Juliette somehow understood that it was going to be a tough afternoon for his team.

The closest the Hawks came was at nine points – 51-60 – on a free-throw by Stephen Omony who played well below his usual high standard for 26 points.

Then Baya, who lost centre Robert Léon with five personal fouls with 2:50 elapsed in the fourth quarter, started firing on all cylinders as they answered each time the Hawks scored.

Dave Roseline played a fine game getting some big stats, especially in offence with 18 points and brought Baya’s lead to 15 points – 70-55 – on a lay-up with 6:29 left on the clock.

When Bernard Cherry netted three of four free-throws with 29.4 seconds to play after the referee called an unsportsmanlike foul on former teammate Timmy Adam who was also disqualified, Baya’s lead had jumped to 19 points – 83-64 – and they netted another five points, while the Hawks got only one.

“We wanted the win and we got it. We were determined and although it could be seen as a blow-out win, it was still a tough match against PLS Hawks. We now have to keep our heads on our shoulders to get a win against RC Dynamics to be crowned champions,” said ‘JP’ – one of four players along with Cherry, Hendricks Denis and Léon who failed to shine for PLS Hawks before joining Baya.

The onus is on Baya to become only the third team other than PLS Hawks and Premium Cobras to win the Men’s Division One title in the new club era.
They could now bring the champagne to Victoria Gymnasium next weekend when they play RC Dynamics in their final league match.
A win will see them hoist the coveted league title as PLS Hawks and Premium Cobras, who have two losses each like Baya, are still to meet each other and one of them will definitely come out losers. But still Baya will be the champions as they have a better head-to-head score against those two big guns.
With their chance of winning the title being very slim, Cobras’ Solomon, who made magic with a 52-point act in a come-from-behind 89-86 first-round win against the Hawks, said:
“There’s no more magic. Baya are the champions. Even if we beat PLS Hawks, there won’t be any consequences on the outcome of the league.”

Praslin Warriors 57 … MBU Rockers 83

MBU Rockers travelled to Praslin on Saturday and they returned to Mahe 83-57 winners against Praslin Warriors who won the first half 31-27.
With Cyril Agrippine (27 points), skipper and playmaker Nigel Sinon (25) and Brian Morel (10) combining for 62 of their team’s points, the Rockers outscored the Warriors 56-26 in the second half for their 10th win in 16 games for 26 points.

The Warriors got 23 points from Ronny Julienne and 15 from Joseph Souffe.

Cascade Bullets 68 … Beau Vallon Heat 78

Beau Vallon Heat won three of the four quarters on Saturday at the Palais des Sports in a 78-68 win over Cascade Bullets.
Needing a 12-point difference win to avoid the play-offs, the Heat, coached by Valli Ismaël, got 23 points from Marlon Marimba, while big men Tony ‘General’ Barbé (18 points) and Alain Cupidon (11) made significant contributions on the offensive board.
Both the Heat and the Bullets are locked on 19 points after three wins and 13 defeats.
Coach Grégoire Scholastique’s Bullets have the edge over the Heat as they won the first-round match-up 92-80.

G. G. from nation.sc

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