ANTIGUA, St. John’s, March 30, 2015 – With two losses on the trot, ABBA Division 1 Champions F&G Trading Cuties Ovals Ojays are not exactly storming into the play-offs.
The champions faltered in their quest for momentum by losing to a Flyers team that outlasted their opponents to the final punch 70 -74 on Sunday at the JSC Sports Complex.
With the game bearing little to no consequence on the standings, the teams squared off in what turned out to be quite a competitive battle setting things up for a thrilling play-off which starts Wednesday.
With Ovals leading the division and Flyers in third, the play-offs are excitingly poised to climax in one of the most exciting finishes ever.
Sunday’s match should have been elementary, a last look between rival opponents, before the battle begins.
But the intensity showed as the teams traded baskets early. Flyers managed to maintain the edge taking a 26-32 advantage into half time.
Ovals came out the half with some flat shooting before the veteran Brian ‘Hollywood’ Matthew placed his team on its back with level headed scoring around the basket and from long range.
Ovals were going to need Matthew big time as Flyers scorched their opponents basket to open a 33-44 advantage in the third period.
Then began the Flyers meltdown, as they suddenly went cold. Even with the strident efforts of their star player Xavier Meade, 15 points, and the intelligent play of the diminutive Russel Daley, 18, a significant lead vanished into thin air.
Consecutive baskets by Matthew and with excellent support by Marlon ‘Buju’ Charles, Ovals were back in the thick of things, taking the lead with a three pointer from ‘Hollywood’. But it didn’t last too long as with seconds to go Daley caught the Ovals team flat footed scoring on a drive to the basket that sent him to the free throw line to pull his team permanently ahead.
Despite the loss, Ovals is still ahead in the standings and will meet Ahkimo while Flyers have a head to head meeting with the troublesome Yorks Crushers. Both opening knockout games will be played on Thursday.
The ABBA playoffs begin on Wednesday.