Arnett target third straight title
Back-to-back Southern Conference basketball champions and number two-ranked Arnett Gardens Rockers will continue their hunt for a third successive title when they face Central Village Strikers in the first match of the best-of-three, round-of-16 play-offs at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex at 7:30 p.m.
In the evening's opening game, number-four-ranked Jamaica Defence Force play Delacree Park at 6 p.m.
Two more games are on today - at the Upper Room Church - where former winners Majesty Gardens take on Real Lions at 6 p.m., while last season's beaten finalists, Upper Room Church, oppose Portmore Flames at 7:30 p.m.
In 2014, the Rockers clinched Waterhouse in a dramatic series, while last year they disposed of Upper Room Church in two games. This year, their title defence will be much stronger, with most National Basketball League (NBL) players coming out of exile to participate in the league.
Despite injury to key player, Arnell Campbell, team captain Vivian Spence argues that with top players like Omar Barnes, Kwame Lawrence, Delano Mallett and himself they still have what it takes to win three straight.
BIG IMPACT PLAYER
"It's going to be a very interesting play-offs because everybody is expecting Arnett Gardens to take it again. But we have some injury issues. Our main player, Arnell Campbell, is carrying a slight injury and 'Charlot' (Campbell) is a big impact player, he's the one that really drives through and lets Kwame take over. So that will be a challenge, but we are confident of winning," he told The Gleaner.
Spence admitted the league is much tougher this season, but revealed that the Rockers have their eyes on playing number one ranked Pembroke Hall in the final, so they can avenge their preliminary round defeat.
"It's (play-offs) going to be much harder than last year. You have some very good teams like Pembroke Hall, Real Lion, JDF, Spartans, Upper Room Church. But we are champions and champions know what to do when it reach certain stages.
"Everyone is looking forward for a Pembroke Hall, Arnett Gardens final. Pembroke Hall beat us this season and it left a bad taste in our mouth, so that is the side we want to play (final)," he insisted.
The next play-off games will be on Thursday at Pembroke Hall, where Camperdown play G.C. Foster at 6 p.m. and Pembroke Hall take on Blazing Panthers at 7:30 p.m.