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CBL SA Pre-season friendlies 2011

By on February 15, 2011 in News

Try growing a brand new pair of legs, and then having to learn to walk all over again. Personally, having not played for over two months and having been forced to keep away from the courts all together (because temptations when around the courts are far too great), everything just seemed slow when getting back on the court. It was a bit of a struggle! I had to learn to put one foot in front of the other…before I could jump and make a decent lay up. I thought I was the only one experiencing this momentary regression until I overheard some of the fellas commenting about the very same thing! But because the very reason why we as the League host pre-season friendlies is to encourage people to get back to basketball shape, it served as both an indicator (of the current skill and fitness level) and reminder (for teams to start working toward a certain level of competition). Hopefully these games will encourage teams to improve on certain areas of their game in which they lack.

The legs may have seemed slightly wobbly at first…but with more court time, surely the body can be reminded of what it can do!

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a friendly game: typically one gets the sense that there is nothing at stake and so, by that very supposition, the competitiveness will ease up. Basketball is one sport I know wherein competition and rivalry ensues, and intensity eventually heightens, when teams face each other.

Game 1: Procter & Gamble  vs.  Western Ballers

One of the joys of being part of the League is that, shortly before the Season begins, I get to meet very cool people, and also reunite with some lads from back in my early basketball days!

Having arrived well before the schedule time for the game, I found both teams just shooting around…and some members already discussing game plays! This particular game brought out some old teammates of mine from the Varsity days!

As new additions to the League, what impressed the most about both of these teams was their preparedness to play. Having just recently formed the sides, they instantly showed signs of unison and a competitive spirit normally found in teams that have been together for a while.

The PROCTER & GAMBLE side, led by their nifty point-guard Sifiso, looked like they were the newer team out of the two…but the way they played was remarkable. More than anything, their hustle plays kept them in the game. And their guys on the sideline continually kept cheering and spurring them on!

Because of the un-numbered tops, it was a bit challenging to separately identify the players. But there’s one play in particular that stood out: their center had just blocked the ball and claimed possession, and then handed it to Sifiso, who ran it down the left flank and then fed it to one of his teammates inside the key; but instead of him going up for a deuce, he spotted another of his teammates (seemingly someone who they all trust with sinking treys), patiently waiting behind the three-point line. He received the ball and, unflappably, just took the shot: swooosh! The wonderful things that happen when a team shares the ball!

But then on the other side stood the WESTERN BALLERS, led by Ivan (I call him “Flash Gordon”), who was causing problems for P&G on the boards and put-backs! The entire team was on some other…! The passes were uncanny – too quick for the eye to record! And then Jerome (no.10) just kept on throwing those needlepoint-accurate three-point daggers without much stop.

Overall…it was a spectacular game, revealing one very important quality that no team can do without: playing the game as one!

And when one of the lads from P&G walked off the court, after shaking hands with one of the WESTERN BALLERS, and remarked that they now know what they must do to win next time around and that they eagerly looked forward to more games, I immediately ticked the empty check-box next to the words “Purpose of the Friendlies”! Done!

Full regulation:  Western Ballers (32): Procter & Gamble (17)

Game 2: Alexander Forbes  vs.  Standard Bank

The Bankers arrived shortly after the preceding game had started, and were posted up courtside. The ALEXANDER FORBES boys soon also began showing face…all very much eager to just get back on the court!

Immediately after the first game concluded, the lads burst on to the courts as though they had just broke free from some constraint–straps!

The ref blew for 1…and we cleared the courts.

It seemed like it had been a long time coming; mind you, although both having been part of the 2010 Season, these two teams had never met before!

Tip off and it was a go!

The game seemed a bit sluggish at first…but soon took a rapid about-face. Farie (STANDARD BANK) seemed to have begun missing work and just started banking in shots! A quick spin, followed by a deadly pull-up jumper! Sabelo got it going down low, working the baseline like a naval architect! Yeh…the well-oiled STANDARD BANK machine looked unstoppable there for a minute…but then the Forbes’ boys had other ideas! The defence-jaws began clamping down and Bankers were stopped in their tracks! On two notable plays down the stretch, A-T-I put the stuffing in the big bird: first he just sprang and blocked a lay-up that we all had counted as a basket; how he got there, we don’t know! For the second one, he simply pressed his thumb on the pinhead and left it to stick on the backboard.

Oh…but then came KG’s play up top of the key: he took his defender to the right, a quick cross-over to the left, the defender’s legs almost criss-crossing, and then a long beautifully arched money shot! Man oh man…!

But on that day, it seemed like the Bankers would not fall: they kept about two points ahead throughout the better part of the game, and when it mattered they secured it once and for all! Great game overall!

Full regulation: Standard Bank (34): Alexander Forbes (25)

Game 3: Legends  vs.  Bethusile

The game between these two super teams rounded up the day’s events: last season’s semifinalist, BETHUSILE, locking horns with the current championship title holder, LEGENDS! Before the game even began, we knew we were in for a spectacular showdown!

The rigorous and disciplined worksmanship of the BETHUSILE side, versus the confident laid back, nonchalant, “we gots this” game attitude of the LEGENDS!

In terms of talent and basketball craftiness, both teams were somewhat equally equipped…so it made it that much interesting to know which one of the two teams would ultimately take the game!

A couple of changes were instantly recognisable: Tshiamo, who was part of BETHUSILE’s roster last season, now sported the LEGENDS’uniform; same is said of Jojo, who was with Momentum! And so, before the game, I told Tshiamo to do like LeBron did when he first faced Cleveland standing on the opposite side of the court! He replied affirmatively…and obliged! The first few minutes of the game already comprised highlights from both teams! Q(uintin) of LEGENDS’fame caught fire early from behind the trey-line! There’s not much anyone can do when he gets on that streak! J-O was doing his weavin’ and beavin’…”handlin’ the rock like Van Exel”! The rest of the LEGENDS also began clicking…and when that happens: oh boy!

But this game was definitely not one-sided: the BETHUSILE side easily boasts some of the nicest players around…and they got down for their crown! There was a chap (whose name I unfortunately have forgotten) who was sniping the hell out of those threes from the same left-corner spot! He hardly missed! Man! Hlogi (no.12) was another problem: you don’t find too many point-guards that run a break like that – hot knife…butter! BETHUSILE is looking very impressive, and you can tell that there’s a concerted effort of hard work from every single member of the team to win!

But as it played out, it was soon clear that the defending champs were going to clinch it! The game produced a tie only in the third quarter; but as for the other quarters, LEGENDS led throughout.

What a splendid game it turned out to be!

Full regulation: Legends (48): Bethusile (36)

On to the next one!

Article by Xolani Khoza for the Corporate Basketball League

Got out there and enjoy the action or make a team and join the league.

CBL SA Pre-Season Friendlies 2K11_Fixture

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