By Rawle Toney
AFTER going down 75-86 to defending champions Trinity Grid Holding (TGH) Pacesetters, last year, Colts will begin their quest for redemption when they come up against Block 22 Flames in the opening game of tonight’s double-header from 19:00hrs, as the GABF National Championship gets on the way. Dubbed ‘The Road to Mecca’, the Championship is the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation’s (GABF) third installation of the marquee event which determines the country’s number one club.
Game two, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, will be an all-Linden encounter with the Mining Town’s number one club Half Mile Bulls, squaring off with the Amelia’s Ward Jets at 21:00hrs.
“We’re ready,” said Colts president and vice-president of the GABF, Michael Singh, who told Chronicle Sport yesterday that his players are fully prepared for the champions in the ‘win or go home’ format.
National junior standout Stanton Rose, according to Singh, is the club’s lone addition to their roster for the championship.
Singh said that Rose, who hails from the Berbice River community of Kwakwani, is a valuable addition to the team’s already solid backcourt that features national guards Dave Causway, Shelroy Thomas and Kurt English.
“I know they’re a small team, but we wouldn’t be taking them for granted because anything could happen. We have a healthy team, no injuries, so now we’re just focusing on taking one game at a time,” Singh noted.
Matching up the two teams, Colts, based on their size and speed, will be heavily favoured to advance to the quarter-finals next week.
Apart from their outstanding backcourt, the Colts will rely on their ‘garbage player’ Nikko Fraser, centre Shane Webster and ‘big man’ Kurt ‘Gypsy’ Elias, in the frontcourt.
The Bulls/Jets matchup should be entertaining, given the fact both clubs have similar playing styles.
However, Bulls, with the sharpshooting Terron Welch who over the last year has built a reputation of being local basketball’s ‘Steph Curry’, will be the deciding factor.
The Jets will rely on their all-round team effort while Bulls will feed from Welch’s ability to either get himself open for the shot or, create his own play where he is just as effective.
Meanwhile, three matches will be played on Saturday, March 5, with Plaisance Guardians coming up against Republic Bank Nets from 17:00hrs, followed by a clash between New Amsterdam Warriors (Berbice) and Linden’s Retrieve Raiders at 19:00hrs.
Saturday’s final game brings together the University of Guyana (UG) Trojans and Pepsi Sonics.
Defending champions Trinity Grid Holding (TGH) Pacesetters’ quest to secure a title will see them face Eagles on Sunday, March 6 from 19:00hrs.
Victory Valley Royals play the Rockets at 17:00hrs, while Ravens, winners of the inaugural edition, come up against the Amelia’s Ward Falcons in the final game of the day’s triple-header at 21:00hrs.
The tournament’s quarter-finals will be played on March 11, semi-finals of March 13, and final on Saturday March 19.
Apart from the handsome first place prize, the team finishing second will go home with $250 000, while third- and fourth-place finishers will receive $150 000 and $100 000 respectively.