San Pedro Tiger Sharks are the NEBL Champions!
Monday, June 10th, 2019
San Pedro Tiger Sharks are the 2019 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Champions after defeating the Mirage/Smart Belize Hurricanes in the fifth game of the finals with a 72-65 score on Friday, June 7th at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium in San Pedro Town. The 2019 NEBL Champions took home the coveted first place trophies and $20,000 cash prize. Meanwhile, the sub-champions walked away with a second place trophy. This win marks the San Pedro Tiger Sharks’ third NEBL Championship in the past six years having risen as top teams in both 2014 and 2015.
The championship match started at 9:30pm to a full house of eager spectators. Game five of the series kicked off slow on the offensive end as the pressure of the match 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.
The second quarter was closely matched, as Tiger Sharks went into intermission with a five-point lead, 33-28, which they were able to extend to 49-41 going into the fourth and final quarter. With a 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 eight rebounds while Jihad Wright knotted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists. Francis Arana finished with nine points, six boards, and three dimes; while Gene Myvett and Kurt Burgess grabbed nine and seven 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 two assists. Raheem Thurton chipped in nine points and seven rebounds while Shannon Fowler finished with six points and four 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 slim 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 the 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, seven rebounds/game, 4.6 assists per game while shooting 9.2 free throws per game and a respectable 50.3% from the field.
After the match, team supporters joined the Tiger Sharks on the court to celebrate their victory. Many of them shared how proud they were of the Tiger Sharks with some offering to donate funds towards the team. Mayor Daniel Guerrero stated that due to this great accomplishment, on behalf of The San Pedro Town Council, he will be donating an addition $2,000 towards the San Pedro Tiger Sharks team. The San Pedro Sun joins the island community in congratulating the San Pedro Tiger Sharks for becoming the 2019 NEBL Champions! We are proud of you!
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