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Mar 8, 2013

National Basketball team shoots for Costa Rica

While the softball team came back today, the National Basketball team is preparing to head to Costa Rica for the Central American Games. Despite setbacks with training and finances, the team is upbeat and looking forward to taking on the powerhouses from Central America. News Five’s Jose Sanchez caught up with the team as it trained on Thursday night at Bird’s Isle.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Belize National Basketball Team is heading to Costa Rica to play in the Central American Games.


Matthew Smiling, Coach

“First we heard that there were five countries—Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Salvador and Honduras. But now we understand that Nicaragua might not be at the tournament; we are not sure yet. We are still waiting for confirmation on that.”


Jose Sanchez

“What’s the minimum time that this team had to practice as a unit? I know some players just came in this week?”


Matthew Smiling

“This is our fourth week with the local guys and one week—well Carter and Jacob were here from last Thursday and two other guys came in Tuesday.”


Jose Sanchez

“I don’t know if it is enough, but it has to be enough practice within the few days because some of these guys have played before together.”


Matthew Smiling

“Yes, for coaches it is never enough time. But we just roll with the punches; we take what we are given.”


Jose Sanchez

“In terms of the cohesion of the team so far, what are some of the strengths or weakness if you can speak to that?”


Matthew Smiling

“Well time is always essential to us. We don’t have enough time getting our stuff down, but our strength is speed. It is a very fast team and I expect that we can overcome our weaknesses with our speed.”


The veteran captain, Keith Acosta, will continue to lead the national team once again with limited resources.


Keith Acosta, Team Captain

“Belize going into the tournament is one of the key teams going into this tournament based on all the previous tournaments that we’ve entered into. We’ve had great standing on some of the international level and here we are trying to prepare—limited time, limited everything—but we are still trying to prepare to continue to do good against all odds.”


Jose Sanchez

“As the captain, are there any particular players that you will be relying particularly upon during this tournament; to push?”


Keith Acosta

“Definite. I think the bunch of local guys that did stuck around, they weathered the storm and they are a bunch of good guys, quality players as well and it is high expectation from them going into this tournament. And they are going to be the key. How they perform will be how far we go. The expectation from the guys who have been here before is somewhat still the same, but the new guys who are going into this tournament; it is high expectation from them to have great success in this tournament.”


The local guys are key; but some players have lost out on the experience.


Keith Acosta

“It’s what we have to work with. As you know it is a group of professional guys and they have been practicing wherever in the States or in Belize, they have been playing basketball. But the time isn’t enough and we have to go with what we have.”


Jose Sanchez

“You are one of the local players. I know some of the players who have been cut or maybe their families and friends are saying it should be all local. You shouldn’t bring in Belizean Americans or Belizean slash any other country. What is your perspective of that as the team captain?”


Keith Acosta

“My perspective on that is one that I don’t agree. I think this tournament is mainly a tournament for a bunch of local guys. For whatever reason, a lot of the local guys have separated themselves from the team and you know it tend to reflect on the national program, but it is a challenge for the local guys to come out and represent. But a lot of key guys have separated themselves and it kinda makes way for the Belizean Americans. But this tournament was a key tournament for a bunch of local guys, but they have separated themselves from it. So it is not something where the organization excluded them, they excluded themselves themselves.”


Englebert Cherrington, Basketball Player

“I played a lot for the Belize team. I started from seventeen, nineteen. I played for Belize again in the Bahamas and then I played a couple other teams. We represent Belize in Costa Rica and then we won in Mexico. I think overall experience in great. It is always a privilege to play four your country—at least I take it seriously and every time I get the opportunity, I relish it.”


Jose Sanchez

“Okay let’s talk about the criticism. Some people feel that it should only be about the local people, not Belizean Americans; that they don’t get the opportunity. What’s your perspective on that that you are here; that you are taking someone else’s spot?”


Englebert Cherrington

“I think that the resources that we don’t have here limit us to sticking without local home schooled athletes. These guys are very good at what they do as well, but we go out there and we got different experiences. We got more assets to work with; we got a lot of different things to learn at different levels and we could bring that back here and help the team. At the end of the day, sometimes it is even better to have that opportunity to get these guys out there. The more of them you get out there, the stronger and better our team would be to represent our country. So I think overall, as long as you are Belizean, you are Belizean; that’s what we do, we represent.”


Charles Ellis, Vice-President, B.B.F.

“We found out that this is a qualifier for a tournament later on in Cancun in July-August. And for us to compete at that level, first to qualify in this tournament, we decided to just strengthen up a bit. Henceforth, we brought in four of our Belizean American players.”


Jose Sanchez

“The other countries competing, they can also bring their players from abroad?”


Charles Ellis

“Yes they can. Luckily we got assistance from our local Olympic Committee; they are funding our entire trip from Belize to Costa Rica. We have some stipend that we want to give our players for coming out and we are short for jerseys. We need to pay for jerseys that are coming in tomorrow. It is things like that that we need some assistance with.”


Jose Sanchez

“If anybody can assist, who could they reach?”


Charles Ellis

“Well they can reach me at 610-2969.”


Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.


The last practice before departing to Costa Rica takes place on Saturday at one p.m.  The public is allowed to attend the practice to give the players some moral support or make a donation to the team. You can call the B.B.F. Vice President at 610-2969.

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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4 Responses for “National Basketball team shoots for Costa Rica”

  1. Allison Hart says:

    Can we reach you guys on facebook?

  2. Storm says:

    Belizean basketballers historically seem to perform to a high standard, far beyond what might be expected from a country as small as ours. Good luck to these men!

  3. check it out says:

    show the medal count for the games to date, reality check for BELIZE. how can we expect to win anything if Stadium and Civic close down, it is a shame!!

  4. former national team player says:

    how in these times we are short jerseys and short funds for the team..that happened to us when i was a player in high school 10-15 years ago..this is the national team we talking bout..come on now!!!!!..smh

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