Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Link-up All Stars took a giant step towards the Hi-Lyte-INSPORTS Community Basketball league title following their victory over Pembroke Hall in Game One of the best-of-three series final at the National Stadium court on Saturday.
The Dave McLaren-coached Linkup All Stars won 63-56.
They could now shut out the series and clinch the trophy and winning prize money of $100,000 with another victory in Game Two today at 7:45 p.m. at the Stadium court.
"It was a nicely fought game. We led and got a bit complacent. The guys broke down, but we fought harder after being down late in the game," McLaren told The Gleaner yesterday.
Looking at today's game, McLaren is highly confident that his team will secure a win and claim the title.
"We are very confident, although the ball is round. We are certainly not expecting a game three. We want to close it out," McLaren boldly stated.
'We'll be okay'
He also said, "We have always beaten Pembroke Hall from SDC (Social Development Commission) league days. We will not change how we play, so as long as the mindset is there, we will be okay."
Although down, Pembroke Hall is not out. They will have to win tonight's game and force a Game Three.
"[It was] just a bad game for the team (on Sunday night). We didn't play team ball. If the guys don't follow instructions, we will lose. We just have to turn up in Game Two and go all out for a win. It's a must-win game for us," Pembroke Hall's coach Troy Constantine reasoned.
In Game One, Nico Phillips scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Aquie Ferguson got 13 points and Narado Gordon contributed 11 points for Link-up All Stars. Andrew Bell had a game-high 24 points, and Joseph Barrett scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Pembroke Hall.
Spanish Town Meadows and Upper Room Community Church will square off for third place, prior to Game Two, starting at 6 p.m.
Game Three, if necessary, is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m.