P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy emerged winners of the inaugural basketball showcase final held on Saturday (July 30) at the University of Technology in St Andrew. The showcase was organized by the Sports Innovators Group (SIG) in collaboration with the Jamaica Basketball Association.
The P.H.A.S.E.1 team defeated the Caribbean Basketball Academy 59-46 to take home the trophy and cash prize of $200,000 JMD.
The team’s coaches Phillip Edwards and Dave Black said they are very pleased with its performance.
And according to Black, P.H.A.S.E.1 exhibited a distinct style of play that separated them from the competition immediately.
The team entered the finals with an undefeated record scoring 51-35 over Central Warriors, 42-34 over CBA, 49-43 over Lignum Vitae, and 49-41 over Hummingbirds.
“We played a different style of basketball from all the other teams that were there. We played man to man throughout the entire tournament and didn’t go back into our zone defence like the other teams. We stuck to a man-to-man defence, and we try to press from full court and a lot of the other team point guards couldn’t match up to getting guarded from that end of the court,” he said.
No Days Off
Coach Edwards shared that the team has been training together since the beginning of July and adopted a “no days off policy”. This meant that if team members were not able to meet face to face in the gym, they would use the SPX App where coaches could monitor their training sessions online.
Their dedication paid off, and coach Edwards said the win is well deserved.
“The win for PHASE1 solidifies the message we’ve been implementing from day one; “hard work pays off!” We outworked our opponents and the strategy of relentless defence wins games,” he said.
“It was really the atmosphere and energy that was the true measurement of victory. The crowd, players, and even the commentators were impressed with our performance,” he added.
P.H.A.S.E.1 team was also the youngest in the competition with players as young as 15 years old. The team also consisted of players from different parishes such as; St James, Westmoreland, and Kingston.
Although they competed together seamlessly, there were some players who stood out.
“Let me acknowledge or veteran leaders: Nicholai Brown and Anthony “Flimo” White. Their leadership really set the tone. The standout players who have picked up the baton and are running with it are: “scoring sensation” David Gordon, “the facilitator” Aantjuan McFarland (check the spelling please), and “Air Jamaica” himself, Derjean Royal,” Coach Edwards said.
Team members also copped sectional prizes too with Anthony White being awarded for most steals, while Nicholai Brown was highlighted for most blocks.
The tournament featured 75 players, with the majority of each team’s players being 23 years old and under, and two older players drafted per team.
Meanwhile, Black, who is also the director of P.H.A.S.E.1 Basketball Academy said competitions like these are essential in developing a player.
“It was a big plus for basketball and for local players who got to showcase their talents on a live stream so other coaches can see the game from overseas and know that there’s so good basketball here. It’s also very important for local players to get competition in a showcase like this to learn how to play on the indoor court because you don’t want it to be where some of these players are selected for the National team and when they go overseas its the first time they get to play on an indoor surface, these kinds of showcases help to bridge that gap.”