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Aug 17, 2009

James Adderley analyzes COCABA basketball final

Story PictureGood evening I’m James Adderley and we’re certainly very privileged to present to you this package of Sports Monday. The nation was riveted by the 2009 COCABA Basketball Championship as it was staged at Cancun, Mexico last week where in four days Belize beat Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica despite the attempt to force Belize out of the proceedings. Thanks to the unity and focus of the Belize National Team and with some help from Panama, the organizers were unable to prevent Belize from appearing in the gold medal game Friday night against the host team, Mexico who had also won four ballgames in a row. With a large Belizean presence at Cancun, Keenan Jordan jumps against Mexico’s Horacio Llamas and the struggle for supremacy in COCABA 2009 begins in earnest. Belize finds itself down by six in the opening minutes before Marlon Garnett eludes his man to land the three pointer. Milton Palacio, the wily general, then streaks in for the nice lay into the net. And of course, Alex Carcamo, who had an impressive tournament all around, then goes to work to get three the hard way. At the end of the first Mexico is up 23-16. In the second Carcamo picks up where he left off, striking for two off the feed from Charlie Burgess. Carcamo would strike for twenty-six points in this one. However, the interior play of the Mexico team proved to be a formidable obstacle to our national team as demonstrated right here. At the other end, Milt stops and pops with time running out for a crucial bucket in the second as Belize pulls to within three. Palacio would hit sixteen points in this one. However, it’s Mexico in the drivers’ seat when Romel Beck gets this three pointer to fall. Fortunately, Milton Palacio responds in kind immediately off the left side to pull Belize within six. And here is Marlon Garnett hitting another triple. He would hit ten three pointers and total the game high of forty-three points tonight. On the next press Keenan Jordan gets the bucket, picks up the foul and sinks the freebie for the three point conversion. Jordan would tally ten points. At the half, Belize is down 54-45.

In the third, Palacio sees the lane open and goes all the way for two. Alex Carcamo goes into the paint and fades for a bucket despite being fouled his free throw conversion would pull Belize to within seven. In the meantime, folks we just couldn’t handle Horacio Llamas down low and he makes us pay every time. Still at the end of three, Belize is only down 78-77. And folks, this is a picture of Belize inside the Benito Juarez Stadium at Cancun. In the fourth, Marlon Garnett continues to sizzle from long distance and Garnett truly convinces the world of his three point shooting capabilities with another big long distance bucket here. Folks, we’re tied at 103-apiece with twenty point two seconds to go in the ballgame when Llamas is stripped cleanly from behind by Keenan Jordan and to the amazement of the world, the referee not only rules foul, he deems it flagrant. Llamas hits both to give Mexico a two point lead. Possession off the flagrant call is devastating to Belize, who must now foul the host team gets one out of two to make it a 3 point lead. Here is Belize trying to force the tie. Palacio can’t get the pill to Marlon Garnett so he has to take the three point shot himself. It feels short as Belize loses the gold medal to Mexico 106-104 thanks to a phantom call by the referee. Keep in mind though folks, Mexico got fifty-five points off their bench, Belize only got five.

Keenan Jordan, Belizean Heritage
“It’s bittersweet because we know we could have won the game. When it comes down to one play, one call, there is really nothing much we could do. We played a great game, Marlon played an excellent game. To me, he was the best player in the whole tournament. When we got here nobody thought that we would do anything. Even the first day when we played Nicaragua, we beat them by thirty. It was a great tournament and hopefully everything works out so we can play in Centro-Basket next year.”

Marlon Garnett, Belizean Heritage
“I think we accomplished a whole lot in the last month. We came together as a team, practicing in the hot gym back in Belize. We came here this week and proved to a lot of people that Belizean basketball is on the rise. It’s bittersweet but we’ll take it.”

Ava Lovell
“You really, really, really played a really good game today. What were you thinking as you were on the court tonight?”

Marlon Garnett
“Well, anytime you’re in a championship game you just try to leave it out there and tonight the balls were going in, which was good. It allowed us to stay in the game and once I hit a few, I just found a good rhythm and I think they were doing a good job of getting me the ball in the right position and too bad I didn’t hit enough of them to get a win.”

Alex Carcamo, Belizean Heritage
“It’s a downer because we wanted the gold real bad but Mexico played their hearts out. Had it not been for that last call, it would have been a good game all the way through but this was more than basketball, like I told you from before. I think we gained our respect on the map, all over the world. We had to fight and fight and fight just to play these games. We could have easily walked away but we didn’t and our key word throughout this tournament was resurrection and I think that’s what we did tonight.”

Milton Palacio, Belizean Heritage
“You know, we wanted to come here and win but you know things happen and they played well and we played well and you know it’s gonna be hard to swallow but we know that we qualify for next year so we’re gonna keep this team together and definitely build on it.”

Ava Lovell
“Now, Milton, you were the captain of this team and I have to say you did an excellent job as the captain. You really carried this team. Like I said before, there was no one player that was dominant. Today Marlon stepped up and I know that’s the way basketball goes that it could be anybody’s match.”

Milton Palacio
“Yeah, definitely. The biggest thing is that we never really set out to come to the game and say that one of us have to come in and have a big game. The biggest thing is we said let’s just try to win and in all the guys’ locker rooms we’d agree on that and say let’s just try to win. But, like I said, it’s bittersweet. It’s great because we did represent Belize in the best way but it’s gonna hurt that we lost this.”

Folks, Belize is the silver medallist and we qualify for next year’s Centro-Basket pending the results of FIBA’s ruling on the question of players’ eligibility on the Belize roster. It’s a hard pill to swallow but time will tell and we say a public thank you to the entire Belize National Basketball Team.

Turning to the football scene, the female title boiled down a one game outing at Dangriga where Pumas Girls hosted Gentle Touch after least week’s 2-2 tie at Esperanza. The Pumas Girls looks to grab the quick lead when Nykemah Kuylen mounts this attack off the left side to unleash this bomb that rises over the crossbar. Kuylen gets another good look at goal on this press but fails to get the ball past the keeper. This time it’s Nataki Alvarez who gets all the way in front of the Esperanza goal only to fail at the very end. Dangriga finally breaks through when Nykemah Kuylen smacks this left foot past Eden Gentle for the 1-zip lead. Some seven minutes later, Dorita Ramos swings this left foot into the far corner and the Pumas Girls are up 2-zip. Just before the half expires, Kimberly Perez escapes the Griga defense but Patricia Marin takes her down from behind inside the eighteen, conceding the penalty kick. Abbi Halliday steps up to pull one back for Esperanza for the 2-1 score at the half. When play resumes, Griga begins to push again. Kuylen comes up with the possession and heads towards goal only to be foiled by goalkeeper Eden Gentle. We’re late into second half when Abbi Halliday raises this ball to the Griga goal. Sharon Vasquez is beaten by an easy ball and we have a tied game and the end of regulation. Gentle Touch Esperanza goes on to grab the 2009 female Football Title 5-3 from the penalty spot and we say congratulations to the champ. To the Pumas Girls, we say it’s hard but it’s fair.

In other football action, week two in the Belize Bank Super League saw San Pedro Islanders and San Felipe Barcelona rally to a 3-3 tie, Texmar United Embarrassed Kraal Road 5-zip, Cayo South United doubled Hattieville FC 2-1, Valley Renaissance edged Placencia Assassin 1-zip while Paradise Freedom Fighters stopped Santa Elena Synergy 3-1. This weekend’s schedule finds five Sunday matches. Hattieville will host Kraal Road, Cayo South heads to San Felipe, Placencia Assassin gets a visit from Texmar, Paradise Fighters take on Valley Renaissance at Toledo Union and Synergy FC will host San Pedro at Santa Elena Stadium.

Hey folks, that’s our show fro today. We invite you back same time, same place, next week. Jah over all, I’m James Adderley.

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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