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Basketball: Premium Cobras Warm-up tournament |05 February 2024

Basketball: Premium Cobras Warm-up tournament

Arnaud Arissol of Drifters goes for an easy two against Cascade (Photo: Roland Duval)

Two wins in two matches for Beau Vallon Heat, Drifters


Reigning league champions Beau Vallon Heat and Anse Boileau-based Drifters have started the Warm-up tournament hosted by Premium Cobras on a high tempo, registering wins in their two matches contested so far in the competition to top their respective groups.

The ‘Warm-up’ tournament is bringing together six out of the 10 registered clubs from the sport’s top flight who have been drawn in two groups of three.

Group A features hosts Premium Cobras, Cascade Bullets, and Drifters, while Beau Vallon Heat are in group B alongside Mont Fleuri Dawgz and AB Boys.

The competition which started on Friday is being played on a league format, before progressing to the knockout phase.

It is aimed at reviving basketball which was almost inactive during 2023, except for the running of the Curtain-raiser tournament, and also to quench the thirst for playing time for active players, as well as to bring back much-awaited entertainment for the fans.

It will also help local officials to brush off the rust, both in terms of the game’s rules and regulations, as well as their physical condition.

For the tournament, several movements in terms of players have been noticed, but with an inactive local governing body for basketball, it is not clear whether the moves are official, or if the players have swapped jerseys just for the competition.

Among the obvious swaps noticed, Damian Chang-Time and John Zervoulakos of Premium Cobras were playing for Beau Vallon Heat and Drifters respectively, while Alf Aglaé of PLS Hawks, Dyan Soubana and Ronny Julius of Anse Etoile, Oneal Laval of Baba, Tony Barbé of Baya and Chris Estrale of St Louis Saints were representing hosts Premium Cobras.

Meanwhile, Premium Cobras’ Brian Agricole was defending a ………Mont Fleuri jersey.

Two of Baya’s players, namely Kenny Okafor and Allen Baron were playing for Drifters and Beau Vallon Heat respectively.

In the opening match of the tournament on Friday, Drifters, under the guidance of coach Tony Hortère, had no difficulty getting past Cascade Bullets for their first win.

A more organised Drifters, both in terms of physical condition and technical elements, dominated the first quarter, winning it 28-9, before grabbing the second 16-8 for a 44-17 half-time lead.

Taking advantage of their superior physical condition, Drifters applied more pressure on Cascade Bullets in the third quarter of the match, winning it 27-11, before winning the fourth and final quarter 21-14, and the match 92-42.

In their second group match against Premium Cobras on Saturday, Drifters met some slight resistance in the first quarter, before narrowly losing it 9-10.

It was in the second quarter of the match that the Anse Boileau side changed their game to outscore Cobras 26-11 and lead 35-21 at half-time.

Premium Cobras with coach Guy Hall on their bench, alongside Dominic Pillay, managed to improve in the third quarter despite losing 10-14.

The fourth and final quarter was evenly contested between the two teams, with both scoring 18 points.

With their earlier advantage, Drifters went on to win the match 67-49 for their second victory of the tournament.

They now sit on top of group A standings and await for their semifinal opponents.

Premium Cobras and Cascade Bullets will meet tomorrow at 5pm at Victoria Gymnasium for a spot in the semifinals as the group’s runners-up.

In group B, Beau Vallon Heat started their campaign against Mont Fleuri Dawgz on Friday, dominating the first quarter, winning it 31-17.

Following some useful tips from coaches Nigel Ah-Kong and Steve Hoareau during the break, Mont Fleuri Dawgz improved their game in the second quarter which they won 20-18 to trail 37-49 at halftime.

Dawgz managed to contain Beau Vallon Heat in the third quarter, despite narrowly losing 20-21.

It was in the fourth and final quarter of the match – a bit heated with several incidents – that Beau Vallon Heat managed to cruise back into the lead, winning it 27-19 and the match 97-76.

In their second match on Saturday, the Heat were up against newcomers in the top flight AB Boys from Anse Boileau.

From the start, the difference in the level of play of the two teams were evident with the Heat winning the first quarter 30-11, before winning the second 31-9 for a comfortable 61-20 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Heat, who have acquired the service of coach Grégoire Scholastique from Baya maintained their dominance to win 23-16, before wrapping up the match, wining the fourth and final quarter 18-15, and the match 102-51 to top the group and book a spot in the semifinal.

AB Boys will meet Mont Fleuri Dawgz on Wednesday to contest the second semifinal spot in the group.

Roland Duval

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