UWI Runnin' Rebels beat Slayers 65-62 to tie NBL series 1-1

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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The University of the West Indies (UWI) Runnin' Rebels squeezed past St George's Slayers 65-62 in game two to level their 2018 Sports Development Foundation (SDF)/JABA/National Integrity Action (NIA) National Basketball League best-of-three finals at the National Arena on Thursday night.

The teams will now play the deciding game three today at the same venue, starting at 6:00 pm.

The first quarter was evenly contested as the teams were locked at 5-5 before the Rebels went up 11-5. The Slayers rallied and went in front 13-11, but the Rebels hit back to again level 13-13 before a three-pointer by Slayers gave them a 16-14 lead at the break.

Slayers had a slight advantage in the second quarter over the Rebels as they were having the better of the turnovers, until their opponents, who trailed 16-21 at this point, scored five points to level at 21-21.

The scores were locked again 28-28 as the Rebels seemed to have settled into a rhythm to take the lead 32-28 at the half-time whistle.

The Rebels, through key centre and former NBA player Kimani Ffriend, opened up a 12-point lead (42-30) over the Slayers who came back strongly, cutting the lead to 48-42 at the completion of the third quarter.

It was the fourth and final quarter that produced exciting plays from both teams, and fans soaked it all up as both teams stepped up the pace and rushed for quick baskets.

The Rebels' lead was trimmed down to a mere three points (52-49) by the Slayers, who closed at 56-55 with just little over three minutes remaining.

With just over a minute remaining, the Slayers went into foul troubles and gave away two free throws at the line. Shortly after, the Rebels also got into the same foul troubles and gave away two free throws. Slayers asked for a time out at at 59-58.

At the restart, the Rebels swept into a four-point lead (64-60) before the Slayers hit back to cut it once again to 64-62 with just 12.4 seconds left and the excitement at fever pitch among the spectators.

Rebels were then awarded two free throws with 3.3 seconds after the Slayers missed a lay-up shot. They scored one and managed to score another field basket to seal the thrilling victory 65-62.

Michael Rogers of the Slayers was named MVP of game two, and he received a gift voucher valued at $10,000 courtesy of Western Sports Limited.

Meanwhile, Pembroke Hall Warriors defeated former champions Urban Knights 85-75 to capture third place in the competition on Thursday night.

Damion Young of the Warriors was named the MVP of the match and received a gift voucher value at $10,000 courtesy of Western Sports Limited.

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