Basketball giants confident ahead of playoff semis

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By Neto Baptiste

Two top teams in Division One of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association’s (ABBA) competition in defending league champions, Cuties Ovals Ojays and Northside Stingers are both exuding confidence after advancing to the semifinal round of the Playoffs.

Ovals blanked Yorks Crushers 2-0 in their three-game series, while Stingers buzzed by Outlaws by a similar margin in their best of three series.

Veteran player and captain of Ovals Ojays, Bryan “Hollywood” Matthew said the team is in a “much better place” than they were last season and confident of getting to the finals.

“We’re just trying to be methodical with our game play right now and trying to get the things we put in practice to manifest itself on the court. Fortunately, for the past few games, it worked that way and I hope it continues throughout the playoffs,” he said.

“It’s a different team, better and I can say that we have more depth. Last year, losing one player in the playoffs changed the whole dynamics for us and this year we are not in that position because we’ve lost players and kept going; so yes, we’re better and we’re in a better position this year,” he added. 

Ovals beat Hometech Systems Outlaws 93-78 on Wednesday to close out the series and will meet Potters Steelers in the semis set to start next week.

Stingers defeated neighbours, Yorks Crushers, by an 86-72 margin to wrap up their three-game series.

Coach of the Stingers outfit, Michael Freeland, said the team’s management has moved to strengthen their team heading into the playoffs this year following injury concerns last season.

“Not only have we added some reinforcements to ensure that we have depth in the side, last season we were a bit beaten up going into the playoffs, so one or two injuries would have caused us to miss a few things so this season for sure we are in a better place and we are definitely looking to make some noise in the playoffs,” he said.

Stingers await the outcome of the Flyers vs Braves series which is currently level at 1-1 with game three scheduled for Sunday at the JSC basketball complex slated to start at 8:30 pm.

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