The Commonwealth Bank Giants took over in the second half on Wednesday night and won convincingly, 101-83, over the defending New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) Division I defending champions Discount Distributors Liquors Rockets. With the victory they take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series.
Leading the way for them at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium was Michael ‘Furley’ Bain Jr. who poured in a game-high 19 points. The Rockets’ Able Joseph matched game-high honors with 19 points in the loss.
Head Coach for the Giants Perry Thompson said they needed to play better than they did in the first game, and they did.
“I feel like we came out from the jump and played a better and more complete game overall, so it’s a great feeling. We get to play game three with no pressure,” Thompson said.
The game was a close one at the half as the Rockets led 48-46. It looked like it was going to be another thriller like the first game that was close wire-to-wire. Instead, the Giants went into another gear in the third quarter. They went ahead early in the third and increased the lead to 63-56 with 5:20 left in the quarter after Salathiel Dean completed a three-point play. Lerecus Armbrister, who was a huge help for the Giants off the bench with 16 points, made 3-of-4 shots from the field and gave the Giants their first double-digit lead of the game when he sank two free throws. He gave them a 67-56 lead with 3:57 left in the third quarter. A 26-15 advantage in the third quarter put the Giants in the driver’s seat as they led 72-63 going into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants took control of the game and the series. They jumped out to an 86-71 lead with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter. The Rockets didn’t have enough energy to mount a come back and tie the series. Now, they will return tonight in an attempts to avoid a sweep in game three that gets underway at 7 p.m.
Thompson said that the Rockets swept them last year and this year they are looking to return the favor.
The Rockets lost forward Livingston Munnings in the first quarter as he injured his ankle. Munnings was instrumental in the first game with 24 points and 16 rebounds. The Rockets could certainly use his services for a better chance of defending their title.
The Giants shot the ball well in the second game, making 44 percent of their shots from the field. The Rockets shot poorly from the field, hitting just 33 percent.
In the early game, the second game of the NPBA Division II championship between the Produce Express Rockets and the Your Essential Store Giants, the Rockets came back from a 10-point deficit to get a 80-76 victory to tie the series 1-1.
Assistant Coach for the Rockets Julian Colebrooke said that they needed to fix their rebounding and hustle as they needed to win and avoid going down 0-2 in the series. They did just that. They used a 30-21 fourth quarter advantage to get the victory.
With the score tied at 75, Randy Blanfort made a layup to give the Rockets their first lead of the game since the first quarter. They led 77-75 with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter and the layup helped trigger an 8-1 scoring run for the Rockets.
“In game three, we are looking to execute in a way that we know how to,” Colebrooke said. “We need to box out, play defense and force them to make turnovers.”
The Rockets got 21 points from Jefferson Oliver to help them in the victory. The Giants’ Brandon Strachan came away with a game-high 24 points in the loss.