Sunday, March 19

We beat Duke

Well not quite Duke. We knocked off 1st seed Fade Away in the first round of the AFB League playoffs (American Filipino Basketball League). A team which is still struggling to formulate chemistry having never played together until the first game of the Season, somehow was able to scurry together 8 wins (6 losses) which was good enough for an 8th seed entry in the playoffs, came into its own Saturday afternoon.

We also played this team (... the league defending champion mind you) in mid-season and trailed by an embarrassing 18 points by first quarters end. The young brazen team substituted all of their starting five for their 2nd stringers who were all short, slow and quite simply no good. At mid-second quarter we led by 1 point as they scrambled to find their starting five, who were so confident their 2nd stringers would hold us off, they hung out outside the gym. At the end of the half we led by 4.

In the 2nd half Fade Away was flustered as our team, stupidly called Westland Alcoholiks, was able to trade basket after basket holding on to a slim 2 point lead. We doubled and sometimes triple teamed their best two players who both had Duke's Reddeck-like range and are featured in AFB's website slam dunk videos, yes they're that good. We eventually beat them by 1 point with a buzzer beater haha. This would be the veritable defending champs only loss of the Season. They're bitter... ya think?

I gasped when i found out we would play Fade Away in the first round. I knew there would be no repeat of the David and Goliath-like triumph or at least i knew they would stick with their best five on the floor the entire game, no question, no doubt. We had our work cut-out for us. And so the playoffs commence...

Surprisingly we went out there like we had been playing together for years. We had chemistry, we defended the fast-break well which was our weakness that many teams exploited all-season-long and even boxed out well enough to get offensive rebounds and made put-backs. At the end of the first half we'd played so well that we only trailed by 4 points... But in the 3rd quarter they turned it on like the good teams do, you know Ala Duke, Pistons, or Kobe Bryant (... not the Lakers haha). They suddenly led by 12 points by mid-3rd-quarter. Our chances we realized had rapidly changed from hopeful and promising to gloomy and bleak.

But, but, but like the great Cinderella teams we mounted a magical comeback. We blocked shots after shot, ripped anyone who dared dissect the interior defense and grabbed every defensive rebound that clanked off the basket... At the 3 minute mark we led by a point. Fade Away called a much needed timeout. We traded baskets once again, both teams becoming anxious, all who watched in the gym (... especially the other playoff contenders) had a special-interest in the venerable team Fade Away's possible loss. A loss meant the crowning of a new Champion at seasons end. How does a 13-1 team that wins by an average of 14+ points per (i saw them play 4 times and these guys are gooood), day-in and day-out, find themselves in such a peculiar position? Perhaps such a team, with no chemistry, nothing to lose & everything to gain, a team unfamiliar therefore undaunted, as the Westland Alcoholiks is just what the league needed to knock off such a great Basketball Team. A tall task that no one desired. We won by a single point as Fade Away missed all three shots attempted with 13 ticks left on the game clock... Wheww!


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