By RENALDO DORSETT
THE much anticipated final matchups are all set and a thrilling series of semi-final deciding games have set the stage for the championships in the New Providence Basketball Association.
Both Division I semis were decided Friday night at AF Adderley Gymnasium and now the Mr Ship It Freight Regulators will face the Mail Boat Cybots for the 2017 title.
In Division II championship series, the Breezes High Flyers will face the Johnson Truckers.
Both series begin tonight at the AF Adderley Gymnasium at 7pm.
The Regulators captured the John Archer Division with a 72-67 win over the Commonwealth Bank Giants.
Gamaliel Rose had his best game of the series in the clincher and led the Regulators with a game high 27 points and 12 rebounds.
He shot 56 percent from the field and also added two steals and two blocked shots.
Eugene Bain added another double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, Cruz Simon scored 13 while Miguel Mackey and Brian Bain each finished with six.
Michael Bain led the Giants with 19, Gibran Smith finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench and Karon Pratt scored eight.
The Regulators opened the game on a 7-0 run with scores from Rose, Simon and Bain. The Giants would battle back and Mark Hanna’s jumper tied the game at 12 at the 4:08 mark in the quarter. The Regulators took a 16-14 lead into the second. The early second saw them go on another run as Simon made a trio of free throws to give Mr Ship It an 18-31 lead with just about five minutes left to play in the half. The Giants would trim the deficit with an 11-2 run of their own, capped by a late jumper from Karon Pratt with 16 seconds left to make the scored 33-29. The Giants took their first lead of the game in the third quarter on a Jeffrey Henfield layup to go ahead 34-33. The Giants would grab the lead back on the next possession starting a series of ties and lead changes for the final eight minutes of the quarter and they took a 49-49 tie into the fourth quarter. Leonard Lightbourne’s three pointer gave the Regulators a lead on the opening possession of the quarter and the scored was tied again at 54 on David Taylor’s layup. Smith’s three pointer gave the Giants a 59-58 lead with just under five minutes left to play but Mackey would answer with a three on the ensuing posession to regain the lead for the Regulators for good. They clung to a 68-65 lead with 35 seconds left to play but Rose and Bain would make free throws down the stretch to seal the win and championship berth.
Despite shooting just 37 percent from the field, the Regulators made three more three pointers and had a 10 point advantage at the line. They made more free throws (20-34) than the Giants attempted (10-19).
The Cybots took the Vince Ferguson division and advanced with a convincing 89-77 win to advance to be the first team to advance to the finals.
Ernest Saunders scored a game high 31 points on 10-20 shooting from the field and 11-14 from the free throw line. He also stuffed the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists and four steals. He lead five Cybots in double figures. Livingston Munnings finished with a double double - 15 points and 13 rebounds, Delvonne Duncombe and Lerecus Armbrister each scored 12 and Jeremy Hutchinson each chipped in with 10.
William Rigby led the Shockers with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Salathiel Dead added 13 points 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks and Jackson Dalmon scored 14.
Despite a 10 rebound advantage, the Shockers only held a two point advantage in second chance points. The Cybots also had a combined 12 point advantage in three point shooting and free throws.
Neither team led by more than six in a closely contested first quarter. Shakeil Adderley put the Shockers up six with under four minutes left to play, 16-10 and they eventually took a 24-21 lead into the the second. The Cybots scored the first five points of the second on a Hutchinson tip in and a Munnings three point play to take a 26-24 lead. A 9-3 run for the Shockers, capped by a Kamal Murphy layup, saw the Shockers take a 35-29 lead. Munnings scored back to back baskets and Duncombe tied the game at 35 on a fastbreak layup. The Shockers won the rest of the quarter 10-6 the rest of the way and took a 45-41 lead at the half. Saunders erupted for 15 points in the third quarter to prevent the Shockers from pulling away. He scored the first four points of the quarter to tie the game at 45 early in the period and tied the game again at 47 on another layup. His hot shooting continued and he scored another six points to go ahead 53-47. Rigby would answer Saunders’ run with a trio of free throws and a pair of jumpers for seven consecutive points and a 54-53 lead. The Schockers went up by as much as six, 65-59 and led 65-53 headed into the fourth quarter. With the season on the line, the Cybots’ defence limited the Shockers to just 12 points in the fourth as they pulled away for good. Armbrister’s three pointer on the second possession of the fourth proved to be the go ahead score and gave the Cybots a 68-65 lead. Clinging to a 73-72 lead, the Cybots went on a 12-2 run to take their first double digit lead of the game, 85-74 on Saunders’ free throws with 2:33 left to play.