By TENAJH SWEETING
THE Commonwealth Bank Giants defeated the defending champions Discount Distributors Liquors Rockets, snatching the first win of the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) championship round.
Monday night’s tightly contested showdown between the two powerhouse teams went down to the wire as the CB Giants came out on top 71-67 after a pair of game-clinching free throws by Michael Bain Jr.
The Rockets and Giants are familiar foes as the teams met in last year’s championships with the Rockets sweeping the Giants 3-0.
Perry Thompson, head coach of the CB Giants, talked about how it felt to win game one against the defending champions.
“Last year’s series was not a good look for us, we had a perfect season going pre-COVID [but] after such a long layoff and losing so many pieces we came up short, ” Thompson said.
He added Monday’s win was the way the CB Giants wanted to start the series but it still has the feeling of unfinished business. The Rockets were no pushovers in the game one won loss. The undefeated regular season team flooded the paint with 34 points compared to the Giants’ 30. Also, they beat the Giants in second chance points with 15 to the latter’s 14. The Rockets bench showed up in a big way on the night for 31 points meanwhile, the Giants had 12.
Livingston Munnings was responsible for 24 of the Rockets’ 31 bench points in Monday night’s match up. Additionally, Munnings grabbed 16 boards to end the night with a double double as the team’s leading scorer. He was joined by Abel Joseph who poured in 18 points to go with 12 rebounds and a jaw dropping 7 steals for the 2022 NPBA champions.
Despite strong showings from Munnings and Joseph the team was no match for the Giants’ Dylan Musgrove. He capped off the night as the game’s leading scorer with 26 points paired with 8 steals and 3 blocks. Musgrove’s big night was complimented by the efforts of Michael Bain Jr. and Eugene Bain. Bain Jr. had 16 points to go with 9 boards and 7 dimes. The latter notched a double double on the night with 10 points and pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds.
Devon Johnson, head coach of the Discount Distributors Liquors Rockets, said Monday’s game was the worst the team had played all season. He added that the mindset going into game two is to make it a best out of three series and to cut down on turnovers.
The CB Giants were able to capitalize off turnovers 28 to 19. Although turnovers were ultimately the biggest difference between the two teams the Giants also got out and ran putting up 28 fast break points to the Rockets’ 11.
Thompson said going into game two the Giants will look to put out their best effort after an ugly game one. The team will look to limit turnovers, communicate better on the defensive end, and get off to a faster start in game two of the NPBA championships.
With both teams hungry for a game two win fans can expect an exciting match up tonight at 9pm at the A F Adderley gymnasium as the NPBA championships continue.