Sunday, June 9, 2019
The 2019 NEBL season came to an end on Friday night at the San Pedro High School as San Pedro Tiger Sharks grabbed the game 5 victory against Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes to claim their third NEBL championship in the past six years. The home teams were 5 – 0 in the finals this season, which was a huge turnaround from the two semi-final series where the road teams won all 6 games. This is the first season in NEBL history that both semi-final series and the finals series went the distance to determine a winner.
Game 5 started off very slow on the offensive end as the pressure of a game 5 surely had an impact on the players who took a few minutes to settle in and embrace the big stage. With the score tied 2 – 2, Hurricanes offensive star, Devin Daly, was sidelined with an ankle injury that kept him out of the remainder of the game, placing greater pressure on Hurricanes to find the offensive power to replace Daly’s absence. Midway through the first quarter the lead was 8 – 4 in favor of the home squad and by the end of the first quarter San Pedro had a 19 – 13 lead. Second quarter was closely matched as Tiger Sharks went into intermission with a 5 point lead, 33 – 28, which they were able to extend to 49 – 41 going into the fourth and final quarter. With physical play on both ends and high defensive intensity from both teams, points were difficult to get. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to open up a 68 – 52 lead early in the fourth quarter, which they were able to sustain to grab the 72 – 65 victory. In front of a packed auditorium San Pedro Tiger Sharks was able to hoist their third NEBL championship banner in six years, being the first franchise to win three championships. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by Martevious Adams who had the game high with 31 points to go with 8 rebounds while Jihad Wright knotted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to go with 4 assists. Francis Arana finished with 9 points, 6 boards and 3 dimes while Gene Myvett and Kurt Burgess grabbed 9 and 7 rebounds respectively. Tyrie Orosco was the top scorer for Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes, tallying a huge double double with 17 points and the game high 14 rebounds, while Glency Lopez finished with 11 points and 2 assists. Raheem Thurton chipped in 9 points and 7 rebounds while Shannon Fowler finished with 6 points and 4 boards. Both teams were only able to produce two scorers in double digits, showing the defensive intensity of the game on both ends.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks had the 52 – 47 rebounding edge, and had a slime 22 – 21 advantage on fast break points. Hurricanes had a huge 47 – 8 advantage on bench points as all five of Tiger Sharks starters clocked in over 31 minutes on the floor. San Pedro Tiger Sharks had the lead for majority of the game, shooting 46% from the field compared to a Hurricanes 31%. Most Valuable Player for the finals went to Jihad Wright who averaged 19.4 points/game, 7 rebounds/game, 4.6 assists per game while shooting 9.2 free throws per game and a respectable 50.3% from the field.
The NEBL would like to congratulate Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes for reaching the NEBL finals for the third time in five year, while extending kudos to San Pedro Tiger Sharks for winning 3 of the 6 NEBL championships in franchise history. Special thanks to The National Channel (TNC) for being our corporate sponsor and airing the games live, and to Bowen & Bowen Ltd. for partnering with the NEBL an another corporate sponsor. Thanks to all other media houses who have been so gracious in covering our league this season. Most importantly, our sincerest gratitude to all our fans country wide who have supported our league for the past six years. Lastly, special mention to all the players, coaches, managers, table officials, referees, Belize Association of Basketball Officials (BABO), police officers, media personnel and others who were integral in the continued development of our league.
Season 7 is scheduled to tip-off in January 2020.