BAYA stood chest to chest with Premium Cobras – the team they bumped around in a first-round 78-68 win – and although their mettle was tested this time, the defending champions stood firm.
Coach Michel Malbrook’s team won Sunday’s match, played at the Palais des Sports, on an Cobras’ captain Pillay shoots but Baya came out on top82-71 score to extend their win-run to 15 games, and with three matches left it will be interesting to see if someone can snap their winning sequence or if they will retain the men’s division one championship title with a perfect record of 18 victories.
“It’s a sweet victory,” coach Malbrook told Sports Nation at the end of the match, which was scrappy at times with a number of turnovers.
“It was a tense affair and both teams had good spells. But we were more organised. I’m happy my players responded to the challenge to beat one of the toughest opponents in the race for the title,” he said.
Coach Lenny ‘Bad’ Aglaé was unhappy with the loss, which has put an end to an 11-game winning streak and means the Cobras are almost out of the title race with 13 wins and four defeats.
After playmaker Giovanni Laval opened the scoring on a shot from downtown with 1 minute 34 seconds (1:34) gone, Baya lost the first quarter 21-24 but took control in the second, which they won 19-14 to go for the breather with a two-point – 40-38 – lead.
With their substitutes doing a fine job when called on to relieve the starters, outscoring their opponents’ bench 38-16, Baya distanced themselves from the once mighty Premium Cobras with a 24-15 third-quarter win.
Although they lost subs Timmy Adam (8:55 left with 10 points) and Nigel Annette (7:59 left with three 3-pointers) to five fouls, Baya tied Cobras 18-18 in the final 10-minute spell as the former champions watched in dismay as Nigerian Alao Solomon (7:43 left with 17 points), and Amadou Sylla (3:06 left with 7) fouled out in crunch time.
Baya netted 11 3-pointers compared to three for Cobras, whose starters outscored those of the champions 55-44.
Seychelles international guard Dave Roseline paced Baya with a game-high 21 points, while player of the year Jean-Paul ‘JP’ Camille, who did not play the usual high minutes, added 11.
Cobras’ captain and Seychelles’ power forward Dominic Pillay dominated the defensive board and finished with a team-leading 18 points although he shot poorly, and Steve ‘Speedy’ Servina came off the bench to pick up the slack with 14.
With only seven players for the match – one more than Angels – PLS Hawks won all four quarters 26-23, 28-22, 40-17 and 38-31 for a 132-85 victory to bring their win record to 12 in 13 games.
The Hawks had five players – Seychelles centre Rodney Lozé (38 points), veteran power forward Jim Domingue (30), Daniel Victor (28 including six treys), captain Bernard Bristol (14) and centre Barry Baron (10) – scoring in double digits.
Steven Servina netted a game-high 41 points and Barry Dubignon added 14, including three 3-pointers, for Angels who have now lost eight times in 15 outings.
Mont Fleuri Dawgz travelled to Praslin on Saturday and returned with an important 80-62 victory over Praslin Warriors to bring their points tally to 20 after six wins and eight defeats.
After their 14th loss in 15 games, the Warriors continue to carry the weight of the 10-team standings.
MBU Rockers got 28 points, including five treys from international swingman Cyril Agrippine and 12 from Brian Morel, in a 20-point margin – 85-65 – victory over RC Dynamics, who were paced by captain Jean-Paul Desaubin with 25.
MBU Rockers boast 12 wins in 16 games, while RC Dynamics have just five in 14 matches.
Meanwhile, in a women’s match, Mont Fleuri got 21 points from Bernadette Songor, 19 from Tracey Hétimier and 16 from Williana Dubois in a 74-25 win over Juniors, who got 10 from Veena Panagary.
While Juniors stay winless in seven games, Mont Fleuri have four wins and three losses.
In the men’s division two, Drifters defeated Pointe Larue Falcons 95-89 in extra-time after the match ended 81-81.