Last season’s losing finalist Petro Jazz and newcomer Quarters United recorded season-opening victories when the 15th edition of the Mackeson Super 10 Basketball League jumped off at the Southern Indoor Sports Arena, Pleasantville, on Sunday evening.
First on the courts was Quarters which defeated seasoned campaigner Sangre Grande All Stars 70-60 for a debut victory. For the winning team which led 35-28 at half-time, Kirk Waithe scored 19 points while centre Kerwin Thompson and Kino Fleary finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
For Grande, Rickie Hazare netted 13 while team-mates Glendon Philip and veteran centre Joel Cruickshank added 11 a piece.
Preceding that match was the opening ceremony which saw the Dave Bobb, director of sports in the Ministry of Sport applauding the league for its youth-driven initiative which he said will ensure a future in the sport. He urged the young players to be disciplined, good sportsmen and to represent their teams and communities with pride.
He said, “I also want all the participants of the league to treat the facilities like your own. Do not damage or deface the facility and do not allow anyone to damage or deface the facility. It’s your and treat it like your own.”
Courtney McNish, president of the National Basketball Federation (NBFTT) hinted to the players that this country will be making every effort to have an Under-15 teams represent T&T at next year’s Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships. He added, “I am very encourage about what I am seeing here this afternoon seeing so many youth teams on show and looking to compete against each other for honours. I want to applaud all the teams that have invested in the youth aspect of our basketball.”
The league is being sponsored by the Ministry of Sport, Mackeson, Toyota, Nestle, Caribbean Bottlers Limited and Courts.
In the evening’s feature match, forward Ako Pascal scored 14 second half points out of his 25-point total to help Petro Jazz to a 99-73 win over Valencia Heat.
Top scoring for Jazz was guard Adrian Joseph with 29 points. The team went into the first half with a 49-33 lead.
For Valencia Heat, it was prolific forward Farbrice Fisher who kept the fight alive with 23 points.
The SBL will operate in four divisions, the Men’s, Women’s, Boys’ 15-and-under and Boys’ 16-to-21 years which will involve 41 teams from 21 clubs.