St George's slay UWI Rebels to be crowned SDF/NBL champions


St George's slay UWI Rebels to be crowned SDF/NBL champions

Observer writer

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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St George's Slayers crowned themselves champions of the 2018 Sports Development Foundation (SDF)/JABA/NIA National Basketball League after defeating The University of the West Indies (UWI) Runnin' Rebels 74-60, to clinch the best-of-three final series 2-1 at National Arena on Sunday night.

It was the third time the Slayers were winning the championship title in four finals. Urban Knights were the previous holders.

Michael Rogers of the Slayers captured his third MVP award, as he got a game-high 23 points, along with 10 rebounds, seven steals and three assists to be the player of the finals series. He won for himself a $10,000 gift voucher and $5,000 courtesy of Western Sports Limited and Athletic Fusion, respectively.

Rogers was the player who stole the spotlight in all three games, as he led the Slayers from the front with his brilliance.

Winning coach Rohan Robinson was very elated.

“This was our third NBL triumph, having gone to four finals while losing to former champions Urban Knights in 2013. It was a very tough season for the players, who worked very hard and made a lot of sacrifices,” Robinson said.

He said though shooting guard Michael Rogers was the player of the series, it was an all-round performance from all the players, especially in Game Three on Sunday night, which led to victory.

“Nick-Caro Golding played well and was responsible for majority of the rebounds; Anthony White is an all-rounder and can play consistently in any position; and also the young point guard Calvin Malcolm stood out well,” he added.

He added: “Rebels are one of the most experienced teams in the competition and have a very good coach, but Slayers are a more rounded team and can play big or small. The players stuck to the game plan and we had them on the run from the second quarter.”

Losing coach Pete Matthews said the players did not perform well, and they allowed the Slayers to capitalise on several turnovers and produce a number of fast breaks that they scored.

“We started out well in the first quarter taking an early six-point lead, but after the Slayers levelled the scores at 14-14 they took control of the game. At one stage we were trailing by 20 points in the fourth quarter and we were able to cut the lead to eight points,” Matthews said.

He said the players also failed to capitalise on a number of free throws and squandered several layups that they should have easily scored. “The game could have been much closer if the players had scored those opportunities.”

Matthews congratulated the Slayers for their victory and said they are a very good team, as they gave the Rebels a very good fight.

The Rebels began well in the first quarter with their starting five led by Kimani Ffriend, along with Omari Green, Andre McLean, Ramal Carbon, and Jevaughn Bailey, as they quickly rushed into an 8-2 lead.

However the Slayers, through Rogers, Sandale James, Calvin Malcolm, and Howard Daley rallied strongly to close the Rebels' lead at 8-7 and went in front 23-18 at the break.

They increased the lead to 41-30 at the half-time interval, and increased it to 57-41 at the end of the third and penultimate quarter.

Apart from Rogers' scoring, the other scorers for the Slayers were Anthony White, who got 14 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists; Aundre Rose with 12 points; and Nick-car Golding with 10 points.

For the Rebels, Jevaughn Bailey scored 15 points and had six rebounds, Kimani Ffriend with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Omari Green added 11 points.

The Slayers received $15,000 and the Rebels $10,000 from Western Sports for finishing first and second, respectively.

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