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Nattie pushing for bigger prize money in local basketball
Anthony Minott, Gleaner Writer
President of the Jamaica Basketball Association, Marland Nattie, has called on corporate Jamaica to help provide prize money of one million dollars to share among the top four-teams in next year's KFC National Basketball League (NBL).
Nattie made this request during the NBL awards ceremony at the General Accident head office recently.
He said the standard of the league has improved and the prize money will help bolster the competition. He told The Gleaner during an interview after the function that the expenses of the teams and the number of games each team plays during a season warrant a huge increase in the purse.
This year's champions, Urban Knights, received $150,000, runners-up Port Royal Bulls copped $100,000, third-place Tivoli Wizards pocketed $50,000 and fourth-place Majesty Gardens got $30,000, which, in total, is $330,000.
Donald Baugh of sponsors KFC was the guest speaker. He thanked all stakeholders for their contribution to the league.
Urban Knights were the toast of the evening as they walked away with five trophies, the mid-season title, the League title, the most- disciplined team, and their point guard Javon Bailey was named the play-offs most valuable player, while coach Calvin Martin was selected as the coach of the season.
The Knights defeated debutants Port Royal Bulls by a single point (62-61) in the third and decisive game, winning the best-of-three series 2-1. The series was rated as one of the best in recent times. Runners-up Port Royal Bulls secured two individual awards.
Their two guards, Paul Oliphant and captain Dovian Wade, collected awards for most steals and rookie of the season, respectively.
Oliphant snatched 77 steals for the season, at an average of 3.7 per game. Majesty Gardens' Kemar McLeish, rated as one of the best players in the league, copped three awards, the most by any player. McLeish won the regular season MVP, most points (630), at an average of 30 per game, and most free throws (126), at 63 per cent.
Other individual awards went to the Portmore Flames pair of Adrian Coote (most three-pointers, 65, at 30.5 per cent), Kenardo Smith (most rebounds, 274, 12.5 per game), most assists Maurice Hanson (Link-up All Stars), 97, 5.7 per game, most blocks Feurtardo Clarke, (JDF), 52, 2.5 per game.
In the women's category, Braves Smilers copped the league title along with an individual award given to Sasha Dixon for best defensive player. Third-place team Metrobelles received the award for the most offensive team, while Oberon Pitterson of runners-up Waulgrovian Bullets copped an award for scoring most points in the league.
Swift Angels were voted as the best defensive team.