SEYCHELLES : National League
Dawgz take the stuffing out of Cobras
Nigel Ah-kong is of the old school of basketball here and as a coach he boasts about local big teams having problems playing against his Mont Fleuri Dawgz squad.
Why is that?
“We believe in defence and we play tough defence,” said the former Seychelles playmaker.
On Sunday, Ah-kong’s Dawgz claimed the scalp of Premium Cobras to register their second giant-killing act after also taking the stuffing out of PLS Hawks earlier in the season in the men’s division one championship.
A playmaker with the Cobras team during the time they ruled the courts in the mid-1990s, Ah-kong paced the sidelines as his two sons – skipper and playmaker Reggie and shooting guard Sergio – and the rest of the team took control of the situation on the NSC multisports hall court.
They had a strong start, outscoring the Cobras 21-12 at the end of the first quarter but their lead was trimmed to just one point – 36-35 – at half-time as they lost the second 10-minute spell 15-23.
After getting just four points in the first half, Kevin Romain, 16, got 13 of his team-leading 17 points in the second and was helped in offence by Reggie A-kong, who scored 10 points in the final 20 minutes for a personal tally of 15, including three shots from downtown.
Nigel Cafrine made an 11-point contribution off the bench, while the team’s three big men – Marvin Asba, Jim Créa and Brian Agricole – combined for just nine points, but did a good job on the boards as they won the third quarter 15-21 and lost the fourth 20-21 for a 71-68 win.
“We deserve our win and we had to win to stay in the title hunt.
“Our strategy against the big guns is, because we have a short line-up, stay close and try to make the difference in the final quarter. We did it against Premium Cobras,” said Ah-kong, whose young team have leapfrogged former champions Baya and Premium Cobras into second place in the 10-team league standings with 16 points after seven wins and two losses in nine games played.
Paced by Darren Lesperance with a game-high 21 points, the Cobras have the same win lose-record as the Dawgz but trail the latter on the head-to-head rule. Timmy Adam and Amadou Sylla had 19 and 14 points for the Cobras.
Defeat for Premium Cobras has opened the way for defending champions and leaders PLS Hawks to possibly have a free ride towards nailing down a third championship in a row.
The most successful team in the last 11 years with six league title wins in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010, PLS Hawks, coached by Clifford Joubert, brought to eight their number of wins in nine games with a 123-50 beating of last year’s second division winners Drifters on Sunday.
In his second season with the Hawks after joining them from Premium Cobras last year, Nigerian Alao Solomon was on fire with a game-high and season-leading 54 points, while young Arnaud Arissol led second-from-bottom Anse Boileau-based Drifters with 16.
Not all Anse Boileau-based teams finished on the losing side during the weekend. Angels won three of the four quarters in a 20-point – 88-68 – win over RC Dynamics.
David Boniface finished with 23 points and Daniel Dodin added 21 in sixth-placed Angels’ third victory in nine games, bringing their points tally to 12 – the same total as seventh-placed RC Dynamics, who got 24 points from veteran captain Emmanuel Jupiter.
After getting balanced scoring from skipper and playmaker Nigel Sinon (19 points, including two treys), 17 including two threes from J. Ernesta and 14 from swingman Cyril Agrippine, MBU Rockers won all four quarters as they eclipsed Cascade Bullets 87-43.
The Rockers are fifth with 13 points after five wins and three defeats, while the Bullets are on 11 points after three victories and five losses.
Meanwhile, in the men’s division two league, captain Frank Seth (17 points), Sergio Ah-kong (16 including a buzzer beater trey), and Eddie Servina (16) propelled leaders Juniors to a 102-32 win over Cadets.
On Praslin, the Warriors walked over AAP Brothers in another men’s division two encounter.
In the women’s league, Juniors were paced by Veena Panagary with 20 points and Jana Malbrook added 17 as Juniors beat Cadettes 62-20.
Laura Françoise was Cadettes’ only player in double digits with 10 points.