By Neto Baptiste
Former champions F&G Trading Cuties Ovals Ojays are in command of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) Playoff Finals after taking a crucial game three to lead the five-game series 2-1.
Playing at the JSC basketball complex on Thursday, Ojays beat LJ Stingers 74-68 to win a second straight game and take a critical lead with just two games left.
Joshua Minner and Jermaine Bolden, two of several Central Basketball Association (CBA) players in the league, led Ojays with 23 and 21 points respectively. Minner had four rebounds while Bolden snatched three boards.
Veteran player Bryan Matthew, who got into double figures for the first time since the start of the series with 13 points, said his players stuck to the game plan. He warned however, that the series is far from over.
“I think our schemes worked last [Thursday] night,” he said. “We really turned the screws and it’s back to the drawing board again on Saturday and getting ready for a tougher one on Sunday night because it’s going to be tougher than what we did [Thursday] night; I can tell you that much.
“We’re not one-dimensional anymore. I didn’t play the first half but we stuck with it and our schemes worked. We have a dynamic setup in that every night someone will give you something new, so look out Sunday because it might just be Marlon Charles because he is due for a breakout game,” Matthew added.
In a losing effort, CBA player James Barbee Jr. top-scored with 19 points for Stingerz, while national player Vivian Destin sank 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Coach of the Stingerz team, Michael Freeland, said his players were not strong enough mentally.
“I think it’s just matter of execution because you go into the game with a plan but then when you have mental breakdowns and players not living up to their assignments, these are the things that happen. You force bad shots; you’re careless with the ball; too many turnovers; and all those things add up,” he said.
Game four of the series is slated for Sunday at 8:30 pm.