Veteran basketballers: We had to rise to the occasion

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Veteran basketball player, Lennox “Termite” McCoy, believes that the performance by the Antigua and Barbuda senior national team, the Bulldogs, was in part, a reaction to the many criticisms they faced leading into the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Caribbean Pre-Qualifiers held in Suriname recently.
“A lot of people had doubted us and that we were not going to make it down there. The criticism we endured but more importantly, Bryan and I didn’t win [the local league] this year and we spoke about it before we went down there [Suriname] and we wanted to make it something special for not only ourselves, but for Antigua and Barbuda so we are very proud and we are happy. We are not happy with the results and that we didn’t get first place but we are very happy with what we went down there to do,” he said. 
The selection of a number of seasoned players to include McCoy, drew some public criticism with concerns regarding their ability to keep up with the pace of the much younger players they were expected to compete against in Suriname.
One other senior player, Bryan “Hollywood” Matthew, said he found solace in being able to pass on his knowledge to the younger players.
“The young ones like the Cohen DeSouza, the Kwame Brathwaite, Adonis Humphreys, they really gravitated to me and I felt really good teaching them the game while we were going through our practice processes, just teaching them and letting them know what sort of level this is about,” he said.
“Cohen really stepped up, we got on him countless times because he is really a good talent but sometimes it looks as if he takes a little time off and in these kinds of leagues you just really can’t take a time off,” the stalwart player added.
Meanwhile, public relations officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), Jennell Willette, said preparations for the next round of matches will begin almost immediately.
“As you know, these guys have qualified and the real game starts now and we don’t want to waste any more time figuring out what we are going to do. We are basically going to start over the next couple of months because the first set of games are in September,” she said.
“We have to say a special thank you to the guys because we have some of the players who would have ensured that we got the bronze and now the silver so we have to say a very special thank you to them for coming back and to the new ones we had on board, we have to say thank you to them as well,” she added.
Antigua and Barbuda finished second in the competition after they were beaten 83-70 by Guyana in the finals on Sunday. It was the country’s highest finish to date in the competition.

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