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Apr 12, 2022

Youth Basketball Athletes Win Big in Campeche

Belizean basketball fans have something to celebrate tonight as an under eighteen team has won the Copa Campeche Tournament. Nine athletes, along with Coaches Darwin “Puppy” Leslie and Linbert Moody, returned from Mexico early this morning tired but jubilant. It’s a great step as the team moves into the FIBA games scheduled in Panama this June. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The ABS Hardrock Basketball Club returned to Belize today with pride, having crushed the competition every match and winning the title as champions in the COPA Campeche Basketball Tournament.

 

Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, Coach, ABS Hardrock Basketball Club

“I went to Campeche already as a player and won so it was a privilege this time going as a coach and also win. The competition was okay. The semi-finals were very competitive and we ended up beating them by more than twenty points also. We won most of the games by more than twenty points. Not saying that the competition was not good, but it’s just how deep our players dig to come back with the championship. We train hard and we coach hard and the strategy was to let these players dig deep down inside. It was not about winning. We already knew we were gonna win. It was about playing the right way and represent Belize the right way and let these players know how hard they have to play to represent Belize.”

 

Darwin “Puppy” Leslie

This U-18 team, which is made up of players from both ABS Hardrock Basketball Club and Future Shocks Basketball Club, has been training for over a year and is on a winning streak. Back in December 2021, they won the Gatorade Cup in Chetumal and now the Copa Campeche. Despite challenges, they are motivated to represent the country in Panama in June for an official FIBA tournament.

 

Linbert Moody

Linbert Moody, Manager/Coach, ABS Hardrock Basketball Club

“The young men are very experienced. They dig down and had composure. This team is led by the four-time player of the week of the Ahmadiyya Basketball League Devin Moody. He average about twenty-four point three points per game and that transcend to Campeche. And he also had three games scoring over twenty points and that was also backed up by Shane Pratt from Future Shock Basketball and he’s the number one guy from over there. He had two twenty point game. He actually started the first game and scored twenty-seven points. We took a really talented bunch and they really love basketball.”

 

That passion for the sport led the team to victory, despite majority of the members being sixteen years old and younger. Sixteen-year-old Devin Moody won MVP for the competition.

 

Devin Moody

Devin Moody, Shooting Guard

“I have been going to Chetumal since thirteen years old, but going to Campeche this was my first time. It was even better bringing home the M.V.P. and the championship so the experience was extremely nice.”

 

Michael Caceres

Michael Caceres, Small Forward

“My experience mi nice because this dah my first time and I had kids di come up to me and make I sign shirts and dehn shoes and dehn thing.”

 

Malik Middleton

Malik Middleton, Defensive Stop/Power Forward

“We had so much talent around us and so much people coming up to us and seeing our talent in Campeche and the kids coming to take pictures.”

 

Duane Moody

“How do you feel about bringing back the win?”

 

Malik Middleton

“It feels great because it was my first time going across to Campeche and getting a big win like this.”

 

Win aside, Manager and Coach Linbert Moody says that they are trying to ensure that they can make it to Panama in June.

 

Linbert Moody

“Thirty thousand dollars. Each of the players are putting their part, we have some people already committed. But I would say we are at seventy-five percent on commitment. So we really would need the next twenty-five percent. If some people would look at it, we di achieve. Dah noh like we di go and fail. They are on a winning streak and it only makes sense that we continue it. And this one is a U-17 so it will be a much younger cast of boys weh actually talented as well. So we feel that we are on a roll and the gateway open so it just make sense that we approach it and step through it solid.”

 

ABS Hardrock Basketball Club has produced five athletes who have been recruited on athletic scholarships in the U.S. and they are providing opportunities for others. Duane Moody for News Five.


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