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BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS EXCITEMENT IN USA AND TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

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Basketball Championship

The 16-team playoffs to determine the United States men’s National Basketball Association (NBA) champion remain chockfull of excitement. And the excitement is also rising for Trinidad and Tobago’s Super 10 Men’s and Women’s championship-deciding playoffs.

The NBA’s home-stretch playoffs were down to eight teams for the two-conference semifinal round as of yesterday – The Washington Wizards versus the Indiana Pacers and the two-time defending champions the Miami Heat versus the Brooklyn Nets for East Conference honours, and the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trailblazers against the San Antonio Spurs for the West Conference laurels.

Here in Trinidad, Saturday night marked the start of the Super Ten home run and at the indoor sports facility at Pleasantville in South Trinidad, southerners Petro Jazz opened with victory over east Trinidad’s Caledonia Clippers in men’s team semifinal Game one action.

Quarters United styled a women’s semifinal Game one win over Colours in the night’s opening tie.

Forward Ako Pascal was the man of the moment for Petro Jazz, scoring his team’s high 16 points which included the last two baskets they ran out 80-74 winners against the Clippers.

The result was comforting for Jazz who were beaten 65-77 by Caledonia in the preliminary stage.

Playing at a venue where they have not lost for the season, Jazz closed the first quarter with a 27-20 lead. But Caledonia closed the deficit with 21-14 second quarter run to tie the scores at half-time 41 all.

The third stanza was marked with increased intensity in offence and defence by both teams and after ten highly charged minutes the quarter ended with Jazz leading 60-57.

The closing quarter  produced all the excitement within the confines of the game with Jazz outscoring Caledonia 20-17 to win the game to the delight of their fans.

Pascal got support from point-guard Adrian Joseph, who missed most of the third quarter with foul trouble. Joseph contributed 11 points, a season-low for him and Kevin Sargeant helped his team’s cause with 13.

For Caledonia, forward Wesley Vincent led all scorers with 21 points. Centre Shawn “Shawney” Lawrence had 15 and guard Steve Williams assisted with 10.

Game 2 is on Thursday at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex.

In women’s play, point-guard Pietra Gay finally came up big for Quarters with a season-high 22 points as they overwhelmed Colours 64-59.

It was Quarters sixth win in as many games. They led 17-12 in the first session, 35-26 at half-time and 53-38 at the conclusion of the third.

However, the young and promising Colours playing in their first SBL semi-final after campaigning in the League for the third year, outscored the host 21-11 in the fourth quarter but they needed more.

Gay was supported by former national and NCAA Division 1 player Melissa Guerero, who netted 11 and Adina Cummings who recorded nine valuable points.

For Colours, Jellene Richardson helped herself to 18 points and Bianca McFadzen contributed 14.

Game 2 is on Thursday at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex. Defence Force and Valencia Heat are the other men’s semifinalists . Police and the Brian Chase Academy are the other women’s teams semifinalists.

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