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Jan 15, 2019

Meet NEBL’s Defending Champions, the Belize Hurricanes

Basketball aficionados are looking forward for the opening of the National Elite Basketball League Season which gets underway later this week. But over the weekend, Belize Hurricanes got a jump start and formally introduced its fifteen players to fans. Looking smart in their new jerseys, the team says it is poised to retain its winning streak. News Five’s Duane Moody has the following report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

For the first time, a semi-pro basketball team was officially presented to the media at the Belize City Civic Centre. Two-time champions, Belize Hurricanes debut its membership in a press conference introducing the team, their new jerseys and their mission for the 2019—to retain the title having won twice in four years. The investments were clearly visible and the coach and management of the team have been preparing during the off-season to defend the title.


Gilbert Gordon, C.E.O., Belize Hurricanes

“Mister Paul Flowers, our GM, has put together an excellent fifteen-player team that will be representing the Belize District for another championship.”


Paul Flowers Sr., General Manager, Belize Hurricanes

“This is the moment that individuals like myself live for. Cycling is considered to be one of the most colourful sports, but basketball put together in the way that we present it can be just as beautiful and colourful. But colours don’t win championships; talent does. And the hardest thing to do is to get the most talented set of people to come together with one heart, one mind, one goal.”


With that in mind, the Belize Hurricanes management says it has been retrofitting its team with the best of the best in athleticism, defence, offence, rebounding, youth and endurance. Head Coach Jamel Wagner says that the challenge for the 2019 season is that all teams will be coming to take their title.


Jamel Wagner, Head Coach, Belize Hurricanes

“We have the strongest core in the league this year and we intend to move on and defend out championship. I think the biggest weakness of this team is the fact that we are the champions. And the last two NEBL champions failed to make the playoffs. So I have challenged our guys, and the management team and players and the hurricanes family that we don’t let that happen again. We want to continue on what we’ve started.”


Some of the top players on the team also shared their expectations for the new season. For the most part they assured their fans that this has been the best shape they’ve been in; even during the off-season.


Brian White, Best Offensive Rebounder, NEBL 2018

“I play the four and five position and I am looking forward to another championship this year. So I just hope the other teams will bring it hard.”


Akeem Trapp, Back Point Guard, Belize Hurricanes

“I’m looking for a great season this year. I wanna win another championship to have that nice feeling.”


Ray Cruz, Belize Hurricanes

“I’m originally from Dangriga; however, I am with the Hurricanes and I love it here with these guys. These guys treat each other with love and I am not going to move. I play four and five positions on the team; however, I think I can play the three as well. I have the speed and the energy and it is hard work and dedication.”


Akeem “Iceman” Watters, Captain, Belize Hurricanes

“I am excited, especially with the two new additions, who are on the team. I just wanna thank the guys who were on the team last year that are no longer with us; thanks for a hell of a run last year and welcome to the guys that just join the team—management and teammates. We believe in each and every one of our teammates and we believe this year we can go back to back. We will go back to back with the hard work we put in.”


Two international players were also added to the team: Jordan Daniels from Atlanta, Georgia and Belizean American Tyrie Orosco from Harlem, New York.


Jordan Daniels, Belize Hurricanes

“I’m a winner; of course I play for the Globe Charters, we never lose. But I like to be part of a winning tradition; I am with the best players in the city and I have been hearing that and now that I am here and I practiced with them I believe it. So I’m coming here, confidence high.”


Tyrie Orosco, Belize Hurricanes

“I am happy to be back home; I am happy to play in front of my entire family and I am just happy to be here. I am happy to be a Hurricane and bring what I got to the table, bring my game to them. I am happy they are accepting me as a player and I am just ready for the season to start.”


Two long standing basketball players that have represented Belize internationally and even won medals are Keith Acosta and Steven Williams; in Acosta’s case, he’s been playing at the semi-pro level for over twenty-five years.


Keith Acosta, Belize Hurricanes

“Basketball is in the air and I’d like to say kudos to the Hurricanes organization for raising the bar to another level with this wonderful introduction of the players to the country. For me personally, the key to it is conditioning and at a lot of stages in your career, learning to be a role player. With this team, this team is comprised of many role players. Every one of these individuals come in and play a critical role that when you put it together in the end, it forms a good team.”


Steven Williams, Belize Hurricanes

“To join a core of young talented guys like this; it was an easy decision to make—just to keep myself in shape, getting up and down the floor is an honour.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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