By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Trailing by six at the half, Pure Players overcame the deficit with a 34-15 third quarter run, then went on to deny defending champions Bayside Blazers’ quest to become the first repeat champion in Hon. Julian Fraser Save The Seed Basketball League history, and claimed their first title with a convincing 117-92 victory on Saturday night. Pure Playaz evened the series on Friday with a 102-95 triumph.
“This means everything,” said Ray Victor who had a 32 points 13 assists and 12 rebounds triple double, and was hurt in game one last year when they lost to Bayside Blazers. “First of all, I had a point to prove against Mr. (Julian) Willock and his team. Last year I got injured. The brought in a lot of players this year and they doubted us. So, first of all that was for him, threatening us that we didn’t have a chance, because I got injured last year and it will be the same result.”
Secondly, Victor said the title meant a lot to coach Sheldon Matthews.
“I promised him this championship from two years ago,” he pointed out. “We fell short last year and I had to come up this year. Tonight, I came with blood in my eyes, ready for this championship, so it means a lot to the Pure Playaz organization.”
Victor said when they made the decisive third quarter run, they changed from playing man on man, after they came out the 3-2.
“I took the initiative—I don’t know my coach noticed—but I guarded the Santo Domingo player (Hansen Donato), I took that initiative because he was a threat, so I guarded him and I think my players stepped up big time,” he stated. “I tried to motive them and come with a positive energy this game because I was on the edge the past two games, so I brought a lot of positive behavior this trip.”
MVP Khalid Gerard followed up with a 28 points 12 rebounds double double. Romain Minott contributed 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out while Steve Parillon dropped in 14 points and pulled 10 off the glass. Rowan Victor finished with 11 points and 10 boards and Lyle Duggins added another 11 points to the tally.
“I’m speechless. This has been a long battle for me. For 15 years I’ve been trying to get here—15 years,” Pure Playaz coach Sheldon Matthews said. “I’m just giving God thanks. The players, they came out with fire in their eyes tonight and they wanted it. It’s very emotional for me.”
Aubrey Daniel led Bayside Blazers with an 18 points 10 rebounds double double while Jameel Haywood poured in 17 points and pulled a game high 14 off the glass. Hansen Donato poured in 16 points to go with seven rebounds, seven steals and four assists.
“I think we just ran out of gas,” Bayside Blazers coach Jason Edwin said after his team was outscored 34-15 in the third quarter. “Pure Playaz came out with a burst of energy weweren’t able to match and they rode that wave through the end of the game. They were just all over the floor, getting their hand on ball deflections, running the floor and being the more aggressive team. In the end, it paid off for them.”