Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Final Thoughts from Puerto Rico

As our final game concluded I was able to sit back and reflect on this experience I was blessed with.  What an amazing opportunity I was given by my dear friend Edwin Loubriel Jr.  I want to thank him and his father for asking me to come and join the Guaynabo Mets.  Although, we did not win the championship or get to that point it was a good run for our team.  We were short handed due to injuries but never let that get us down we still went out and fought until the end.  I would be remorse if I did not thank the fans of the Mets for all the love and support they showed me from my first day on the squad.  Y'all made the games a lot of fun...."Guaynabo ahii!"

I hope to be invited back again next year so I can participate in this great league.  Guaynabo would be perfect if it was able to happen.  The lone bad thing of my experience in Puerto Rico was all of the rain.  I had enough of that back home before I left...it just followed me down here it seemed.  Hurricane season killed my chances at coming back with a nice tan lol.

I also need to thank the employees of the Quality Inn for putting up with my horrible sleeping habits.  The maids had it set so they wouldn't knock on my door until at least 1:30pm for service but most of the time they would wait until about 3.  Most of the time I would still be laying in bed exhausted but I would get up and go get some food so they could clean my room for me.  On top of the Quality Inn Staff I need to thank the Marriott casino personnel for being so kind and generous to me during my stay.  It was about two and half weeks strait I would find myself there every single night playing black jack or 3 card poker.  The casino was very good to me until the last couple days I attended...it got old after a while.

Another blog to come about the basketball experience soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Semis dead locked at one game a piece in the best of seven

Monday was a great day for the Guaynabo Mets.  We walked into the gym that holds roughly 15k and delivered a win against the defending Champs.  It was a total team effort and a much needed win to take control of the series.  We battled back and forth in the first half and then we took control of the game in the mid third quarter.  We played very sound defense, moved the ball offensively, took good shots, and capitalized on their mistakes.  Personally, the picture I have posted was my personal high light of the game.  Buster (our 4 man) blocked one of their guys shots and that led us to a 2-on-1 break and I had the ball with their point guard back.  He never stopped the ball so I took it all the way and when I jumped he jumped as well so I knew I had to take it to the rim and try to dunk it.  From that point on we made plays offensively and defensively so we could get the win.  I think I had 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 ast, and 4 steals in the game.

Game 2 started out pretty good and then hit a turn for the worse.  Arecebo has a player who is the "shooter" on the Puerto Rican National Team.  Tonight he did that very well, and so did the rest of his teammates.  They shot the ball very well from the perimeter and when we would battle back and get into the game we would have a mental lapse and they would capitalize.  I played pretty well in the second half and finished with 16 and 4 rebounds I believe.  Tonight, I experienced something that has no place in sports.  Our fan were throwing things on the court, one of which almost drilled me.  Due to the throwing of objects we had to wait to dry the court and we received technicals for those actions.  I was in  awe and didn't know what to do when objects started flying.

Game 3 on Friday as we had to a packed house in Arecebo.  Its going to be like walking into IU, MSU, or Wisco for me. Cant Wait!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Game 6

Last night was one hell of a basketball game to watch.  Two teams playing very hard with two completely different objectives in mind.  Basketball is a game of runs, as most of you know, and the key to winning most games is limiting the other teams runs while making yours last.  This game was back and forth with runs and had to be exciting for the packed gym to watch.  I felt like we had the game in control as we were up 12 points in the 3rd quarter and when it started to rain it poured.  3 consecutive and 1s and then a 3 pointer to tie the game up as quick as a a snap of the fingers.  We found ourselves down 2 with 32 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.  We got the stop we needed and had a guy leaking out and hit him in stride to get found rather excessively from behind with 9 seconds left.  He hit both free throws and they called a time out.  We got the stop with roughly 5 seconds to go and we had two people breaking for a game winning lay up as time expired but our big guy dribbled up and took a half court shot that was so close to going down but rimmed out.

FIBA rules are different than anything I am used to.  Sancturce got the ball to start the overtime and they took control of the game and we tried to play form behind in the OT and just didn't have enough to get over the hump.  Personally, I thought I played pretty well but not well enough for us to get the W and move on to the semi-finals.  I had 22 points, 6 rbs, and 3 ast.  Saturday is the win or go home type of game and it will also be my first game 7 experience.  I am excited for this opportunity we have to close the series at our home court.

More to come following our game.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Game 5...Disaster

Game 5 didn't start or end well to say the least.  We started our the game before running out in a circle with a guy acting like a bull fighter and then other as the bull and the bull was charging and we would all chant olay. If that isn't a sign from the beginning that we came out flat and "got our doors blown clean off the hinges" to quote my former Mad Ants roommate Darnell Lazare.  They picked us apart and were hitting 3s and getting dunks off the pick and roll because no one wanted to help to give up a 3.

That is all we are going to talk about the game though....it wasn't close and we will leave it at that.  Thursday is a great opportunity for our team to end the series once and for all.  Losing tomorrow puts a bunch of pressure on us and brings us to a home game against a team that just won 3 in a row.  Must win tomorrow in my books....lose and go home doesn't sound to good at this point.

Everyone wish us luck to end the series so we can advance and get a couple days off before facing the Champions from last season who are big and extremely athletic.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Puerto Rico...Game 4

Well, I know I missed a little bit there while I was sulking and complaining about my minutes the past two games.  So I am sorry but to recap those two games a bit we won game two at their place by 3 points I believe.  It was a total team effort and things went well.  Game 3 we lost by 2 at the buzzer....Angel Vasallo made a great tip in and got fouled to tie the game with bout 7 seconds left but Walter Hodge had the last laugh in this one has he came off a ball screen and we switched and beat the defender and finished with his lefty floater.

Tonight was a game that we labeled as a must win.  An Opportunity to take complete control of the series with the next game back at home.  We opened the game pretty flat and Sancture hit some shots at the beginning to put them up to an early lead.  We battled back and went back and forth most of the first half.  The third quarter is when all the fireworks happened.  Late in the 3rd, our back up big man Jorge was called for a foul when he and I both thought it was a clean strip and we had a fast break lay up.  He reacted pretty excessively at first then walked away but the ref still called a technical and then the antics began he ran over and got into his face to make sure he got all of his words in to make it worth getting tossed.  Personally, I thought he was about to beat the ref up right there on spot.  That is something I have never seen in my life.  So...with that being said they shot 6 free throws and made all of them.  That was a 6 point swing so we were trailing after being tied.  Just like so frequently happens in basketball him getting tossed turned things around for us and gave us the momentum.

The forth quarter was back and forth until we took control of the game late.  Angel Vasallo basically scored all of our points in the 4th quarter as it seemed he shot free throws every time down the court.  This was a big time when for us on their court heading back to Guaynabo for game 5.

Personally, I was focused and hungry and had a great opportunity tonight and took advantage of it.  I checked in mid first quarter and played the whole first half from that point on.  I ended first half with 6 points, 5 boards,  and 4 ast.  Then I finished the game with 16 points, 6 boards, 7 ast, and 4 steals.  So I took full advantage of my opportunity and hopefully things will keep going smoothly over here.

On a non basketball note....It has rained here more than it did back in Indiana so yall should be happy for  that.  I was hoping to come back when a nice cinnamon tan and maybe a pretty senorita haha.