Tuff E Nuff playing hard for each other and for San Pedro
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
The 2012 Inter-office Basketball competition is well underway and hometown players Tuff E Nuff Boys are making waves by winning their first four games despite the fact that the first game they won was also the very first game they played together as a team this year. Tuff E Nuff is the only team from San Pedro competing in the tournament for 2012 and from all indications they seem to have a very good chance of bringing home the gold. However, owner/player/coach Rico Black says that this year they face some strong competition. “It won’t be easy, but we have a good chance…” smiles Black.
Unlike previous inter-office seasons, where players had to be employees of the team office, this year’s tournament has been opened up to the general public and all of the rosters have been strengthened by an influx of ex semi-pro basketball players who have joined with the office employees to play for the championship. The combination of experience and ability that these ex-semi pro ballers bring makes the teams stronger and lift the intensity of the competition to a whole new level for inter-office basketball. The San Pedro Sun sat down with player-coach Rico Black to get his impressions on this year’s teams, the competition, his outlook for the tournament and the performance of his team thus far.
“This season we were caught a bit off guard”, explained Black. “We only heard that the competition was going to be open to other players just two weeks before the start of the first game.” “Other teams had already been practicing with their full roster of players from almost two months before.” However, despite the short notice they were able to put together a strong group made up of die-hard Tuff E Nuff employee ballers as well as a contingent of ex semi-pro players of their own, including team captain, former semi-pro basketball MVP and member of the Belize national basketball team, Keith Acosta.
“Tuff E Nuff is no stranger to basketball,” says Black, “In fact, Tuff E Nuff has already won two inter-office championships for San Pedro.” They are the only team on the island to have done so. Whenever Tuff E Nuff is in the competition, Black says, they are “always in the fight” to take home the trophy back to the island and play hard to make San Pedro proud. Black notes that what makes him feel so confident about his current team is the fact that, as he sees it, there are no ‘weak links’ on the squad; “we have very good players at each position… any player coming off the bench is a good as the player they are substituting for… all of our players are real players… well rounded… have tons of experience.” According to Black the team is filled with players who are more than just teammates, but more like a family, who are dedicated, strong competitors, who know the game and are playing not just for the team but for San Pedro as well.
“Our players are playing because they love basketball,” says Black. “They love to play and want to make San Pedro proud.” Evidence of this is that fact that of the 15 players on the team none of them are getting paid to play. They are playing simply for their passion for the game and for the ability to show the island that they can put up a fight and that there are good players here in San Pedro, who really know the sport of basketball and who really can play. Black says that the only thing that they want from the people of San Pedro is for them to take notice and begin to support the sport of basketball as much as any other sport. San Pedro has some good players. Just recently, 18 year old San Pedro High School student Michael Guan was chosen from among a group of children throughout the country to represent Belize at the King James Classic Amateur Athletic Union Basketball Tournament in Ohio, USA. Add to that, the San Pedro High School Basketball team is the current Northern Regional Basketball champion and the San Pedro Junior College Basketball team won the ATLIB National Basketball Competition. San Pedro Tiger Sharks have also brought home the trophy for their hometown on two occasions and some of those very same players have joined forces with this new Tuff E Nuff inter-office squad to battle it out for the triumph once again. The players hope to see more youngsters take up the sport of basketball and would like the islanders to keep supporting players and help by donating to the sport, encouraging youngsters who show talent and promise, and by involving the community in basketball sporting events.
Players work out every Wednesday night at the Bird’s Isle complex and would like to thank their sole sponsor San Pedro Belize Express for stepping up and providing them with transportation back and forth to the mainland for practice and playing their games. Tuff E Nuff Tours and Belizean Shores Resort have to be thanked as well, for allowing the team time off from work to practice, as well as offering some small financial support when needed.
Nine of the fifteen players on the team are islanders living and working in San Pedro, they are Desmore Edwards, Ashton Edwards, Tyrone Edwards, Douglas Penland, Trevor Meighan, Rico Black, William Black, Dwayne Davis, and nineteen year old Raul Roches and rounding off the 15 are Paul Swasey, Steven Williams, Faron Lorriano, Jamal Aguilar, Ian Lennon, and team captain Keith Acosta.
The San Pedro Sun wishes Tuff E Nuff all the best and we’re so proud of the way they’ve been playing so far. Next up for Tuff e Nuff is BTL on Friday June 15th, which will be aired live on MORE FM 99.5
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