By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE New Providence Women’s Basketball Association rescinded on its decision to take away a game from the Bee’s Trucking Destroyers and awarded them their fourth straight championship title after they won game four 72-59 over the youthful Foxxy Angels.
But Destroyers’ head coach Donnie Culmer is calling for a public apology from the NPWBA for denying them their celebration with their sponsors and fans at the DW Davis Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Commissioner Norman ‘Mouch’ Humes announced yesterday that a tribunal has been formed to investigate the protest by the Foxxy Angels that Bee’s Trucking had used an ineligible player, Sheldeen Joseph, who had not played sufficient games during the regular season.
“We made a decision last evening after we convened the tribunal to award the championship to the Bee’s Trucking Destroyers based on the fact that we would have gone into the live stats after there was some information that was in a gray area that we were not sure happened,” Humes said.
“We erred on the side of caution and made a decision to award the championship to the Destroyers.” Humes said when they checked on the live stats, they got a better picture of whether or not a player participated in a game than from the scorebook. He said there were some games where there was a DNP (did not play) behind the player’s name, which would indicate that it was a coach’s decision not to play the player.
As the commissioner, Humes said people make mistakes, but there is room to correct it and they decided to do the right thing. He said he feel the decision will only make the league a much better one going forward.
Culmer, however, said he’s disappointed in the ruling by the NPWBS because they argued the point that Joseph had played sufficient game and they were not given a fair chance to prove their point.
“We want the New Providence Women’s Basketball Association to aplogise to me and my team because they made us look like we were cheating when we were not,” Culmer said. “I would never do that with the years of my experience around basketball.
“I will never play a player who isn’t eligible to play. I did my homework on my own. That was howe I knew my player was eligible to play, which they did not do. They went on what they thought and what they believed and the facts, which was in the books.”
Culmer charged that Humes “fell down on the job” in discharging his duties in the commissioner’s office.
“We had asked them to make a ruling because we played the game (on Tuesday) night,” said Culmer, who serves as the second vice president of the league. “He turned around, put a cigar in his mouth and walked off.
“To me, that was a slap in the face and then he want to complain about my attitude when he turned his back to me and couldn’t give me an answer, or make a real decision, based on the facts that are available.”
After their hard fought victory and even though they brought out the cooler with the champaign, Culmer said they were denied the opportunity to celebrate on Tuesday after they completed the best-of-five championship series with a 3-1 advantage over the Foxxy Angels.
Culmer said he knew all along that they were right and even though they were disappointed in the decision made by the NPWBA, they learn from the experience. He noted that it might have an even far-reaching effect with their Angels’ club because he was surprised that coach Anthony Swaby put the protest in against his own team.
“For me, that’s for me with that club,” he said. “I will have to sit down over the summer and elvauate what happened. I still can’t believe that a close friend and family member would have done that against his only senior team in the same club over basketball.”
Swaby, who assist Culmer with the Destroyers who came out of his Angels club, said it was a decision that was made the executives in awarding the championship title to Bees Trucking and so they will have to live with it.
“It ain’t no big deal,” he said.
But Swaby said basketball have to be bigger than a decision made and he would hope that it won’t affect his Angels club moving forward.
“What I did in putting in the protest was not about the club,” he said. “It was a fundamental decision to keep up the integrity of the game. We felt that they put us in a disadvantaged position by playing some players who we didn’t see play all season long.”
Swaby said it was a decision made by the executives and they will move on.
However, Swaby said there was no ill feeling against the Destroyers team and he’s confident that his Angels will come back together as one. He conceded defeat to the Bees Trucking and praised his Foxxy Angels for their gallant effort.
“The Destroyers won the championship, but they knew that every game they played against us, it was going to be a dog fight,” Swaby said. “They knew that these were the two best teams that played in the league this year.
“Our young girls held their own. I was very proud of them and I am very pleased with the parental support that we got. The players did their parents, themselves and the coaching staff and sponsor Adrian Fox proud in wearing their uniform this year. It was a honor and a privilege to have been given the opportunity to work with them this year.”