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Jun 25, 1999

G. Michael Reid looks at championship game

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Tonight G. Michael Reid has what probably is the last word of the week on the final game of the semi-pro season. He also offers his congratulations to those who deserve it most.

“When Jesus wowed the revelers with his water into wine routine, one guest at the bashment was heard to comment, that the host had saved the best for last. Even before the decision by the B.B.A. Protest Board, basketball fans knew that last Friday’s extravaganza would be the final game of season ’99 and on that night, semi-pro served up its best wine; the waiter’s name was Keith Acosta.

The Civic was packed with 6 seconds on the clock, when two bottles cracked as to herald, the phenomenal chain of events that was to follow. Sadly enough, many missed the grand finale for they had left at the point where the bottles were thrown.

And really, for how long must so many keep yielding to so few? How often are we at parties when a fight breaks out and although it is usually only between two people and on occasion the commotion is caused by just one trouble maker, but instead of these delinquents being discharged, the party will break up and everyone will go home? Flourishing night clubs have crumbled never to rise again as a result of a single such incident; and then you tell us that no one monkey can stop a show?

Fortunately, there are many who still refuse to be intimidated and those brave ones who stayed for the final 6 seconds of game 2 were privy to a prodigy of events that they will not soon forget. Nuff respect to the crew from Channel Five who were awake and alive and captured it live but with events such as these, there is nothing like being there. Oh, there have been exciting finishes in the NBA, in fact just these playoffs alone saw Larry Johnson with a last second 4 point play and Shawn Elliot doing a tip toe at the Alamo. Michael Jordan had a few, Bird and Magic too, but in my point of view, Friday’s phenomenal finish, ranks right up there among the best.

Here is how it happened. With 6 seconds on the game clock, Keith Acosta rebounds a Darrell Bovell miss. He dribbles the length of the court, during which time, all but point 6 of those precious ticks have expired. His team is down by four. He pulls up behind the 3-point line and goes into the air for a jump shot, bearing in mind of course, that Keith Acosta is one of the higher jumpers in the league. Lloyd Leslie, who is not necessarily noted for his jumping ability, comes up from behind and tries to block the shot. That is a decision of course, that should keep young Lloyd awake for many, many nights, but we all make mistakes and we hope that he’ll get over it soon. At that point, referee Eugene Trench signals a flagrant foul and this is where you might say, the evil stepsisters sewed a dress for Cinderella to attend the ball.

I do not believe it was a flagrant foul and neither did a majority of the fans in the City Center, including a few Raiders fans but had not that call been made, we would not have had the opportunity to witness the exceptional drama that was to follow. A flagrant foul according to the rule book, which is actually defined as an unsportsman-like foul, is when a defender makes a play at the shooter and not at the ball. Lloyd Leslie seemed to feel that he could block the shot from behind, and why he felt he needed to with his team up by 4, probably not even he will ever understand. Yet, it was quite obvious to everyone in attendance that Leslie was not intentionally trying to foul Keith Acosta and in fact, that alone would have constituted a flagrant foul. It was a bad call by referee Trench but again, we all make mistakes and he too will have to get over that.

The truth of the matter is that the referees had been doing a fairly decent job to that point and while teams will always cry about not getting fouls, no one wants to see a game that is stopped on every possession. That, however, is how basketball is played in Belize, even in the school yards. Nevertheless, to get on with the story, Keith Acosta goes to the line to shoot 3 free throws and because it is a flagrant foul, the Raiders will retain possession of the ball.

Now folks, there are NBA players that go to the line all the time and often in game winning situations. Far more frequently than not, they will usually brick and I’ve seen it happen even to the immortal Michael Jordan. Keith Acosta, however, one of the humblest and most likable guys I’ve ever met, steps up to the challenge and knocks down all three and this mind you, in what could only have been described as a hostile arena. Yes, Raiders have won back some fans with their clean play this season, and yes, there were a few bussed in from other districts, and yes, it seemed that they had decided that if Dean Barrow could look for City Council candidates at the Ramada, then certainly they could find an inmate or two who would clap for a precious night of freedom, but with all that in mind, Raiders fans were still outnumbered 10 to 1.

The pressure on Keith Acosta was tremendous and as they say, anyone can dance when nobody’s looking, but to get up on stage and perform in crunch time, is the true mark of a star. Keith Acosta deserves his MVPs; Keith Acosta deserves his championship and Keith Acosta deserves all the love and adoration being bestowed upon him by the Belizean public. Nuff respect to this young man.

To complete the scenario, Duck Garnett of the Raiders, then takes the ball out of bounds at the midcourt line after the conversion of the free throws and delivers a text book pass which Keith Acosta picks off the finger tips of more than one Nets players and punctuates the night with a picture perfect alley oop dunk. When it is all said and done, whether you love or hate these men in black, the Phoenix Footlocker Raiders are the 1999 champions and congratulations are in order.

Let us now move forward, building upon this successful season and do what we can to make next year even more memorable, without the violence of course. Let us endeavor to weed from our midst, those monkeys who will stop our shows and let all in influence, shout from the mountain tops that they will not condone nor tolerate such nonsensical behavior.

With the Last Word, G. Michael Reid.”

The opinions expressed on the Last Word are those of G. Michael Reid and not necessarily those of Channel Five. Comments are welcome.

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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