NPBA regular season is back ‘with a bang’


Tribune Sports Reporter


THE New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) regular season returned with a bang and so did the Commonwealth Bank Giants at the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium on Saturday night.

Along with pregame performances by Dillon “D-MAC” McKenzie and Nishie LS, halftime entertainment from Julien Believe and the Saxons Superstars dancers, the crowd witnessed the defending champions Giants defeat the Discount Distributors Liquors Rockets 104-89.

The NPBA season opener was a finals rematch between the top division one teams and, from the opening tip to the final buzzer, it was all Giants.

Perry Thompson Jr, head coach of the CB Giants, was thrilled about the statement win and talked about how his team got it done.

“It was a great first half, third quarter lacked a lot, it was a lot of fouling, sloppy play, and the pace was slowing down a bit so we got out of the groove but they were able to get back into it in the fourth and finish up strong to come out with the W,” Thompson said.

Last season’s Giants team struggled with sluggish starts, however, on Saturday night the team got off to a great start in their opening game.

The team ran out to a 12-8 lead to begin the game which blossomed to a 10-point lead (26-16) at the end of the first period. The team ramped up the intensity in the following quarter and led by 18 (42-24) in its opening minutes.

After outscoring the Rockets 30-23 in the second quarter, the Giants were in charge with 56-39 on the scoreboard to head into the halftime break.

Jackson Jacob, the Giants’ leading scorer, gave the Rockets defence problems all game long.

Jacob notched a game-high 26 points and scored 17 of his total points in the first half.

Additionally, he complemented his scoring output with a trio of rebounds, assists and steals. His offensive prowess helped the national champions to earn their biggest lead of the game, 22, in the second period of play. Coach Thompson gave credit to one of the team’s longest members for his play style and leadership abilities. “He is one of the pillars of this team and a veteran. He does whatever we ask, last year he came off the bench this year we need him in the starting role. He gives us a spark. We need him as a leader and that’s what he has come out here and done,” the coach said.

As for last year’s runners-up, the Rockets showed signs of life in the third quarter which they closed out down by 12 and outscored the Giants 21-16. This year’s Rockets team features some new additions including Kemsey Sylvestre from the Leno Regulators and Lerecus Armbrister from the CB Giants. The Rockets’ Livingston Munnings led the way with 22 points, grabbed five boards and stole the ball twice. Meanwhile, Sylvestre was second in the team’s scoring in his Rockets debut with 16 points, 5 rebounds and three steals.

The Rockets drew close on the scoreboard in the final period but it was too late against the Giants. The latter collected 35 points from turnovers compared to 16 from their opponents. They edged out the Rockets by ten points in the paint with 44 to 34. The defending champions also dominated in the fastbreak with 27 to 12.

In their last four meetings, including last season’s finals, the Giants have bested the Rockets. With the season now underway, coach Thompson is ready for what teams have in store for the defending champions.

“We always have a target on our backs whether we win or not just the name alone brings a lot of pressure. Every year the goal is to win, we work hard and it shows when we get out there on the court,” he said.

The NPBA regular season games will continue today with the Heat Waves facing the Island Development Construction Rebels in division two. The Brandon Deli Kings compete against the Island Development Rebels in division one at 8:30pm.


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