By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Pure Playaz’s coach Sheldon Matthews said his team wanted to send a statement and star player Ray Victor who was hurt during last year’s championship game, said he had ‘a chip on his shoulder’ after Bayside Blazers collected their rings for winning the 2018 Hon. Julian Fraser Save The Seed League Basketball title, and players told him they took the gold ring from him.
“They should have never done that,” Victor said after his team beat Bayside Blazers, 94-79 in the league opener on Saturday night, in a game in which he had 11 points 10 boards and dished out eight assists, as Romain Minott poured in a game high 29 points, six rebounds six assists and four steals while Nicols Charles added 20 and Bodean Samuel, 13. “I actually had a chip on my shoulder because they actually said they took the gold ring from me, so I had a chip and it was personal. When it comes to Bayside Blazers, it’s personal. I have to take care of business.”
Matthews it was a sweet victory after Victor went down and they lost the championship game after leading Bayside Blazers.
“It was devastating after we lost the championships so we wanted to send a statement in this opening game—not just to Bayside Blazers—but we want the teams and the league to know we’re coming to rumble,” he said. “I went out and made some adjustments from last season, got some inside players to help out because I saw our downfall from last season, so I tried to improve on that to help build the team and so far, so good.”
Victor said it’s the first game the team was playing together, there was nervousness and skepticism on how they’d mesh as a new team.
“Bayside Blazers underestimated us in a way, they came out thinking, they had just received their gold rings, they were the force to reckon with,” he noted. “It was the first game and I don’t count it as a big victory or anything—just a game to measure—to see exactly where we are for the season. We took control after we saw that Bayside Blazers isn’t as big and bad as they say they are. We realize we had full control and had to put our feet down and I guess, it’s just Bayside Blazers.”
Jason Edwin said Bayside Blazers—who got triple doubles from Kimani Stevens (25 points and 11 rebounds, Tavon Phillip, 17 and 13 and Douron Phillip, 14 and 10—was assembled a week before the league began and they realize that they need more time to shake off some of the rust as they lack chemistry. As a result, some of the things they wanted to do, the guys were a step too slow.
“We saw what we wanted to see from the runners up and we know it was going to be a tough battle, but we came out with notes to go forward. It’s just the first game against the runners up and you hear the talk on the street that if their key player didn’t go down, they probably would have been the champs. We want our new personnel get acclimated to what we do. We’re not stressing. We know we’re gonna be the champions this year again.”