Monday, Apr 22, 2019
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NPBA season set to tip off

Two new teams have joined the hunt for the championship title in the premier basketball league in New Providence, set to tip-off on Saturday.

The additional squads bring this year’s total to 12, an improvement from last year when only 10 teams participated in the two divisions in the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA). The defending champions are the Commonwealth Bank Giants and The Real Deal Shockers return as the runners-up. Even though it hasn’t been finalized as to which teams will be playing in the opener, a grand show is being planned by executives, wanting to draw the crowd to the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium.

“We had as many as 16 applicants but the executive members and I decided that 12 teams would have been more manageable,” said league president Keith ‘Belsey’ Smith. “That decision was made because of the length of the season and the amount of games that we would like each team to play. Last  year, I think each club played a total of 18 games not including the playoffs, so all in all, those who made the playoffs would have played as many as 20 to 24 games.

The ones who played into the semi-finals and finals would have played 24 to 26 games. That is quite a hefty season in terms of basketball.

“We are comfortable with the 12 teams. The two new teams are sponsored by BTC and the Bank of Montreal. The divisions will remain the same, John Archer and Vince Ferguson. Six teams in each division will play four days per week. The league will be improved this year. I have already gotten some feedback from some of the clubs participating. Two of the new entrants, last year, made the playoffs. They are excited about making the playoffs and moving closer to the championships. They are all hungry and looking to replace the champions, the Commonwealth Bank Giants.”

The uphill battle for the defending champions, the Giants, can start as early as Saturday according to Head Coach Perry Thompson. If they are scheduled to play on the opening night, Thompson revealed that they will take to the court without some of their key players who are out of the country. Thompson is not promising a strong showing on Saturday. He said that it is quite possible that they will have a shaky start.

Adding the loss of players Jeremy Hutchinson and Denzel Edgecombe to the equation, doesn’t cushion the blow for the Giants.

“We are not 100 percent,” confirmed Thompson. “If we have to play on Saturday it will definitely be a slow start. We have some people injured and some people traveling, so it will be a step-by-step, game-by-game process in trying to retain our crown.

“It all depends on who we play, we might lose. If we go up against one of the strong teams it will be a stretch for us, to a certain degree, because we will be short-handed. We’ve made two additions, Jackson Jacobs is replacing Denzel Edgecombe and we have picked up Marvin Barr who will fill the space for Jeremy Hutchinson. Other than that we still have the same core.”

As in the past, the C.I. Gibson gym will be the home for the NPBA. Games will be played Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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