As the semi-finals of the Mercantile Basketball League draw closer, the final few rounds of group matches are underway at the Henry Pedris Basketball court. Last evening showcased 3 matches which were as follows; a ‘D’ division match between LOLC and Hirdarmani Group, an ‘E’ division match between IFS and Airport Aviation and a ‘C’ division match between NDB and Davis Peiris Motor Company.

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The 27th Edition of the Mercantile Basketball League will commence during the third week of June..

LOLC vs Hirdaramani Group

The match was started off by Hirdarmani but once LOLC got warmed up and settled into the game they took control of it dominating on both offense and defense. LOLC employed a man to man defense whilst Hirdarmani opted for a zone defense. Hirdarmani failed to penetrate the defense and attack the rim and trailed behind LOLC by 10 points at the end of the half. Just as the half was about to finish Hirdarmani lost a key player due to an injury, making the next half especially difficult for them to catch up to LOLC.

Half-time: LOLC-30 Hirdarmani-20

Hirdarmani was on top when it came to ball possession but they failed to successfully convert those possessions into points. Whilst LOLC tried their luck from beyond the perimeter and increased the deficit even further. Towards the end of the final half things got worse for Hirdarmani as they lost another crucial player due to an injury on the court. Afterwards, Hirdarmani lost the plot in the game as they missed a majority of their shots and LOLC dominated the half and sealed their victory by 26 points.

Full-time: LOLC-62 Hirdarmani-36

The coach of the winning team had this to say to ThePapare: “We haven’t won a championship since we won the ‘E’ division back in 2012. Hopefully this year we can win another championship. We have one more group match to win to become the group champions.”

IFS vs Airport Aviation

Both teams struggled to get the first basket while having numerous opportunities to do so including free shots at the line. It was the Airport Aviation team who finally got a basket halfway into the first quarter. Airport Aviation was at a severe disadvantage having a very weak bench of only 01 extra player which made it difficult for the players on the court forcing them to play the full match without substitutions. Halfway into the half IFS moved up from a zone defense to a half court press to maintain dominance as Airport Aviation attempted to close the gap.  It was a very low scoring half as IFS lead by 01 point into lemons.

Half-time: IFS- 13 Airport Aviation- 12

During the 2nd half, IFS took control of the game as they began to increase the deficit. However, there were many mistakes made by both teams during the match which cost them numerous scoring opportunities. The lack of substitutions started to affect the Airport Aviation players as they began to slow down with fatigue and missed many of their lay ups. Throughout the match, both teams struggled to score but it was IFS who had the slight lead which they maintained up until the end of the match and finished their last game with a win.

Full-time: IFS-36 Airport Aviation-27

The coach of the winning team shared his thoughts about the match with ThePapare: “We had a satisfactory performance today but there is a lot to improve on and many mistakes we need to fix but it was nice to go off with a win.”

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NDB vs Davis Peiris Motor Company

NDB drew first blood as they quickly converted the first possession into a fast layup. Both teams were neck to neck during the first half with both teams having a good scoring percentage. Although there was a slight drizzle during the first half of the game the players continued to play without a problem. DPMC was using a zone defense although they were slow to recover after an offensive attempt allowing NDB to beat the defense easily with an extra man and score. DPMC played a good team game making use of all 5 players and managed to stay close as they trailed behind NDB by only 06 at lemons.

Half-time: NDB-35 Davis Peiris Motor Company-29

During the 2nd half NDB portrayed some great team chemistry as they increased the deficit with a few assists helping to score successive shots. The key to NDB’s scoring was that they dominated the board securing all the rebounds giving them many second shot opportunities. Along with that NDB used their bench well, rotating the players and always keeping them fresh. DPMC lost the plot on their shooting and failed to turn the tables on NDB losing the match by 7 points.

Full-time: NDB-64 Davis Peiris Motor Company-57

Speaking to the coach of the winning team after the match, he had this to say to ThePapare: “We’re through to the semi-finals now and if we win our next match we will be the group champions as well. We played well today but during the first half our opponents shot accuracy was very good but that reduced during the second half allowing us to create a gap on the scoreboard.”