Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is the place to be for basketball players in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Basketball Championships are currently being held and on the first day of competition, the T&T hoopsters defeated surprisingly the favorites from Jamaica by the score of 88-76.
Trinidad & Tobago, who slipped into the tournament after the withdrawal of the Dominican Republic, destroyed the Samardo Samuels-led Reggae Boyz in the last quarter 30-18 to claim an important win in Group A of the competition.
With former-NBA coach Sam Vincent and in the basketball world well-known players such as Samardo Samuels (Louisville Cardinals) Kimani Ffriend (Mersin, Turkey), Chaz Carr (Quimper, France) and Eyinmi Efejuku (Providence Friars), the Jamaicans looked like one of the favorites on the paper to win this tournament.
But Steven “Lighter” Lewis had other plans and led TT with 27 points to an impressive first win in the tournament.
Players such as Duane Virgil (Illescas, Spain), Adrian Joseph (Vigo, Spain) ,Gimel Lewis (Lleida, Spain), Kibew Trim (Romania) and Devougn Lamont (Venezuela) are all abstinent of the TT roster but the duo of Ian Young and Wilfried Benjamin (both active in Saudi Arabia) as well as the inside presence of another two professionals who are playing abroad (Reggie George in Halifax, Canada and Julius Ashby in Japan) are giving the Trinis an edge over the other remaining teams in the group if not in the whole tournament.
In other games, Cuba expectedly clinched a hard-fought 91-79 win over Antigua, while hosts British Virgin Islands had no trouble against a second-string roster from the Bermudas (Their “real” national-team -is in Aland at the NatWest Games).
The Bahamas edged Barbados 75-73 in a nail bitter but the team does not seem to be strong enough to compete for one of the medals in the CBC.
The next days will be quite interesting, as we are expecting Jamaica to bounce back into the competition…otherwise this could have been the first and last tournament for Sam Vincent…