Cybots beat the Giants 78-76 in game 1 thriller


Senior Sports Reporter


IN meetings during the regular season, coach Wayde Watson and his Mail Boat Cybots couldn’t find a way to beat the Commonwealth Bank Giants. On Monday night, they finally got the monkey off their back as they sneaked the opener of the New Providence Basketball Association’s best-of-seven championship series.

The Cybots got a game winning putback basket on an offensive rebound from Livingstone Munnings with just eight seconds remaining after Ernest Saunders missed a jumper as they broke away from a 76-76 tie to secure the 78-76 victory in a thriller that went right down to the wire.

The Mail Boat had pulled away from a slim 68-66 margin with about five minutes left to go up 72-66 over the next two minutes. But Commonwealth Bank refused to roll over and play dead as they fought back to tie the score before Munnings came up with the big shot.

“It feels good, but you can’t take anything for granted. It’s a seven-game series and it’s just one down and six more to go, so it’s still evenly matched,” Watson said.

“We’re not in the driver’s seat yet when you are talking about a seven-game series. But it’s good to get the initial lead in the series and force the pressure on the opposing team.

“But you can’t bask in your glory with a one-game win. It’s still a seven-game series. We’re just glad to get the monkey off our back, considering the fact that in the first round, we lost the first game and our backs were against the wall and we had to win two and in the second round, we won the first two, but our backs were against the wall and we had to win the clincher.”

Watson said his main concern is not having to come-from-behind to win, so he was delighted that they were able to pull off game one.

Munnings, in 35 minutes, finished with 10 points, 18 rebounds, three block shots and two assists. Eugene Bain came off the bench and lit up the nets for a game high 21 points with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Saunders contributed 18 points with six rebounds and Lerecus Armbrister had six points and nine rebounds.

The Cybots trailed 13-11 after the first quarter, but fought back for a 35-34 advantage at the half. The Giants again surged ahead 61-55 at the end of the third, but the Cybots used a 25-15 spurt in the fourth to clinch the opener.

Jeffrey Henfield led Commonwealth Bank with 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. David ‘Skittles’ Taylor had 15 points and six rebounds, Jarell Coakley had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Quentin Demeritte added 12 points and four rebounds.

Lyndrick Storr scored nine points with five rebounds and four assists, but Mark Hanna only came up with three points, two rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes off the bench.

“Game one, you try to win to set the tone,” said Giants’ coach Perry Thompson. “Despite all of the things we experienced, we realised that we let one slip away. The guys were not that disappointed because we realised that we could be better. We have to get them focused for the next game.

As they look ahead to game two, Watson said his Cybots intend to make the necessary adjustments because they expect that the Giants will do the same.

“We will strengthen up what we did in game one so that we can counteract their three players who scored in double figures,” Watson said. “We were fortunate to contain Mark Hanna last night, but the reality is they had three other players who put up some figures and so we need to find a way to contain at least two of those players, including Mark Hanna.

“We need to win game two. I think we stole game one, but we need game two to put some more pressure on them.”

Thompson said his Giants will have to dig deep down inside and make it happen for themselves.

“We let the referee get to us and we didn’t play like we are capable of playing,” he said. “It ain’t going to go the way you want it to go.

“We are short-handed, but we feel confident that with what we have we can get the job done. We just have to go out there and play Giants basketball.”

• Game two is set for 8pm

tonight. Game three is scheduled

for Friday with game four

on Saturday.


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