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Jul 5, 2018

Young Basketball Athletes Bring Back the Gold and Silver from an International Tournament

There is good news to celebrate tonight. That’s because a team of young athletes has made its mark in the Hoops on the Beach Basketball Tournament played in Cancun. They competed in four categories and brought home gold and silver medals, besting other teams from bigger and mightier countries.  The young players returned home quietly but were today hosted to a feast. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Last Thursday, over thirty-six youth basketball athletes traveled to Cancun to compete in the Hoops on the Beach international basketball tournament against counterpart teams from the U.S. and Puerto Rico as well as Mexico in the U-nineteen, U-seventeen, U-fifteen and U-thirteen categories. The teams represented the country well and won gold in the U-nineteen and the U-thirteen categories and capturing silver in the U-seventeen division. It was a proud moment for the players, who went into the competition with a mission.

 

Nicolas Phillips

Nicolas Phillips, U-nineteen Team, Belize

“It felt really good to know that all the hard work we put in from the beginning to the end paid off even though we had some troubling times. The team still stuck together, kept our head straight and we didn’t point fingers at anyone during those times. We stayed level-headed, picked up everyone that was down and we came back victorious.”

 

Paul Flowers Jr.

Paul Flowers Jr., U-nineteen Team, Belize

“You get out what you put in and we know that we put in so much that other teams would not put as much as we did. So from when we left Belize, we had the confidence that no one put in as much work as us, no one has done more stuff than we had. We had put in two hours a day for two days for like the past three weeks. So we know that we had to kill ourselves in order to kill others so when we left, we knew that we were going for the kill. And so said, so done.”

 

Llewellyn Gentle

Llewellyn Gentle, Shooting Guard, U-nineteen Team, Belize

“We could obviously tell from the beginning that they had a lot more practice time than us. But what we had over them was that we had a lot of raw athleticism; we had a lot of team chemistry because besides practicing a lot of players on the team, we play in other tournaments before so we know how each other play. But if we had opportunities to be in gyms for hours upon hours, days after days, gyms that are just open to us and putting in our own work, nobody would be able to take us. We don’t have that and we still won the tournament. So imagine if we had that.”

 

The U-nineteen and U-seventeen teams were pooled from the Ahmadiyya Basketball League.

 

Naveed Mangla

Naveed Mangla, President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Belize

“We had over a hundred youth in the league that runs from January up to May, but this year we expanded it to over four hundred youth where we had three categories of U-thirteen, U-seventeen and U-twenty-one. We had youth coming from not only Belize, but this year we had about three or four teams coming from Mexico also.”

 

It was the U-thirteen team, the Belama Boys, that dominated the competition; winning every game by a margin no less than twenty points. Coach Raheem Staine says that they exceeded the expectations.

 

Raheem Staine

Raheem Staine, Coach, U-thirteen Team, Belize

“I’m very proud of the guys. All the work that they put in, they came back with the goal. They were very dominant as well, showing that they were well-prepared—more prepared than the competition and they came back with their heads held high and they represented the country well and came back with the first place and they are champions.”

 

Today, the National Sports Council hosted the champions to a luncheon at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex Conference Room where they were honored for a job well done. Coach Cleon McKoy says that the young men are talented and this boosts their confidence; and for the players, it opens doors for them to get scouted.

 

Cleon McKoy

Cleon McKoy, Coach, U-seventeen Team, Belize

“I believe that these young men are the future national team players and we have a whole lot of talent and we have to nurture them and see that they reach their goals.”

 

Paul Flowers Jr.

“There were scouts out there. The Morales people, who were the organizers, they brought scouts and the scouts were interested in Belize as well as Mexican scouts as well—schools and so. And I believe they were taking to Mister Naveed and interested in our players. So I believe that Belize, for so many years has been considered one of the countries that were lower in talent and lower in resources. I believe now that since our resources and facilities are getting better, the teaching should get better.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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