Basketball is a popular sport on Ambergris Caye, with many youngsters enjoying the pastime as a way to get out of the house and do something constructive. Â Many look up to premier players, and now the San Pedro Tigersharks have proven their skills by winning the opening game of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL).
The National Basketball League hasnÂt been played for a few years, leaving an obvious gap in the sporting calendar. Â However, in 2014, it makes its return and the Tigersharks have been quick to prove that theyÂre ready to take on everything the tournament can throw at them.
The opening ceremony was held on Saturday 8th, with Belize City hosting the event at their Birds Isle Basketball Court. Â Throughout the duration of the games, eight teams will participate, with each playing two games. Â The Tigersharks are representing San Pedro Town, while Smart No Limit waves the flag for Belize City. Â Meanwhile, Orange Walk is represented by Running Rebels, Dangriga by the Warriors, Corozal by the Heats, Belmopan by the Bandits, Toledo by the Diplomats and, finally, Cayo by Cayo Western Ballaz.
The games were opened by Honorable Herman Longsworth, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Â Saying he was pleased to see the tournament back, Honorable Longsworth added: ÂThis is the start of what we hope will be able to sustain indefinitely. Â That however, will be very much dependent on the community. Â The teams have to find a way to bring out the community to support the games.Â
In the first game between the Tigersharks and the Smart No Limit, the Belize City team took an early two-point lead. Â However, the Tigersharks quickly fought back, and the teams battled back and forth during the first quarter. Â By the end of the second quarter, the Tigersharks had risen from their 20-19 score to take the lead by 35 to 38.Â Then, in the closing stages of the match the gap widened, first to 52-59 by the third quarter and then, to finish, at 78 to 83.
Many people across Belize will be glad to see the return of the NEBL, as a lot of individuals are passionate about the sport. Â For many youngsters, it will give them something to aspire to and a reason to keep up with their training.