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Tough battle at the top


Randy Bennett

Tough battle at the top

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It is evident that nothing is going to come easy for those teams vying for playoff positions in the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Premier League competition.
With the first round completed, and each team playing only four matches in the second round, the stage has been set for an intriguing showdown to determine the four available play-off berths.
Last year’s losing finalists Lumber Company Lakers, Cougars and Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics, have all distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, ending the first round with identical 7-2 records.
Barring a sudden and dramatic collapse, those three teams should expectedly book their places in the postseason, with the only real intrigue now surrounding their final placings.
Pinelands are in a strong position to grab that fourth and final spot after finishing the first round with a 6-3 record, but if Warriors continue their impressive run, an interesting battle could develop.
Warriors (5-4) will need to replicate their stunning first round performance, in which they defeated Lakers, Cougars and Sonics, if they are to challenge Pinelands for fourth place.
The fact that they have been placed in the “group of death”, which also includes Lakers, Cougars, Station Hill Cavaliers and Clapham Bulls, will make their job that more difficult.
And just as there are those teams vying for play-off positions, the race is also on for those sides looking to avoid demotion to the Intermediate division.
Newly promoted Challengers (4-5), defending champions Warrens Sports Club, Bulls and Cavaliers, who all entered the second round with 3-6 records, are in jeopardy of being the team to be demoted.
Fans have grown accustomed to watching both the Bulls and Cavs in the play-offs, but this time around, the two longest serving teams in the Premier League are in danger of not playing top-flight basketball for the first time in over 25 years.
Without the services of key players Peter Alleyne, Pearson Griffith, Kevin Austin and Zahir Motara, who all played significant roles in helping them to win their first title last year, Warrens were never expected to repeat as champions.
However, demotion was definitely not on the cards and they would be hoping not to become the first defending champions to be demoted.
One thing is for certain: whichever teams happen to qualify for the postseason and whichever one has the misfortune of being demoted, basketball fans are in for some action-packed games in the upcoming three weeks.

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