Tonight was the anticipated final of the Pro-AM League which is organized by the No Excuses Foundation. With 7 weeks of highly skilled basketball which can be considered the next best thing to watching an NBA game, it was an all out brawl for the two teams trying to claim their stake at becoming champion.
Jaye Valentine started the show by singing the national anthem and it was a very beautiful rendition by such an amazing artist who is originally from Le Marque, TX but has been residing in Houston for quiet some time now.
The game was played between Competetive Choice in Black against Showtime Ballers in Red. From the very get go it looked like it was going to be an all out war. Showtime Ballers opened first blood and got the first 5 points to go up very early in the first two minutes of the game. As time progressed it was a match that went back and forth and after the first period ended the score was 22 to 20 with Showtime edging Competetive Choice by two points.
The second quarter was nothing less than exciting as the first period. Game kept going back and forth and there was 11 times the match was tied up. It was very hard to predict which game the game was going to go. At the end of the first half the game was 51 to 49 with Competitive Choice now leading at the break by two points.
The half time show was pretty awesome. Jaye Valentine who sung the national anthem earlier came back and performed one of her hit singles. I must say she is a very talented artist and I’m quiet surprised I hadn’t heard of her prior to the game but I started following her immediately after the show on instagram.
There was also a memorable mention honoring the late Moses Malone. Moses Malone was an NBA super star who played with the Houston Rockets in the late 70’s and during the early 80’s he was credited for teaching a young Hakeem Olajuwon the skills of playing as a big man and it was at the Fonde Recreation Center that this took place. Several ex NBA players and former Rockets players were present tonight with most notoriously Robert Reid who played directly with Moses Malone for five years.
The third quarter was intense quarter with both teams going at it again. Competitive Choice made some key tactical changes in their lineup and started pressing every possible play that Showtime Ballers had possession and it seemed to be effective as they started getting a small lead. At the end of the third quarter the game was 82 to 74 in favor of Competitive Choice.
The players got some rest and refreshed with some gatorade before the start of the 4th quarter and a girl’s breakdancing team performed for a few minutes. A little boy from the stands decided to intervene and put on a show of himself and put on a few breakdancing moves of his own. This little kid must be about no more than 4 years old but already has a bright future in breakdancing if he chooses to.
The start of the 4th quarter was nerve wrecking as it was do or die for both teams. Competitive Choice which had the lead in the beginning of the period kept plying pressure and had built a decent lead to about 10 points or so. With 5 minutes remaining Showtime Ballers had to step up their game and they did just that and started climbing back by applying full court press and actually causing the other team to turn over the ball. With 1:38 on the clock, the game was 104 to 101 with Competitive Choice having to call a timeout and rethink why their lead had shriveled down to only three points. With one minute remaining on the clock, Showtime Ballers was able to force one extra turnover and score a clutch jumper to bring the game within 1 point 106 – 105. The very next play Competitive Choice started killing the clock and Showtime had no choice but to commit a forced foul. With no fouls left to give that meant competetive choice would shoot free throws. With the game on the line, the crowd cheering and yelling for each respective team piled on pressure for the player shooting the free throw. He took the first shot and it bounced off the rim, the pressure mounted even more as he attempted the second shot and the nerves got the best of him and missed that shot also and showtime ballers grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 0:22 seconds to go !!! Showtime Ballers took out from their own half but one of their players hit the side of goal as he attempted a baby hook and competitive choice got the rebound and they had no choice but to foul again. This time around that particular player shooting the free throws made both attempts and put the game at 108 to 105. Showtime Ballers called an immediate time out and took out again from their own half and almost as the first time one of their players attempting a baby hook hit the side of the goal and competitive choice got the rebound and showtime had to commit another foul. One free throw was made but that was enough to put the game out of striking distance and the game ended at 109 to 105 with Competitive Choice winning.
Congratulations Competitive Choice for winning the 2016 Summer No Excuses Pro-AM League. It was a hard fought season but in the end there can only be one winner.
In addition to a team trophy, individual trophies were handed out. David Burrell won league defensive player and it was obvious he deserved it as he hardly allowed anyone to get past him. Sulei Braihmo who is originally from Nigeria won the MVP of the final after putting up 25 points and 14 rebounds to help the team win.
As the end comes for this season’s Pro-AM , I would like to thank Coach Casey and his wife Jillian for inviting me out and having a wonderful experience meeting some new people and watching some great basketball. I told Casey to watch out for next year because Houston Streetball is going field a team and I’ve been watching everyone out there and I think we can field a pretty good competitive team from park players and who knows, we may cause some damage, the coach just looked at me and smiled.
I would like to encourage everyone to support the different basketball leagues in or around the City of Houston from amateur to semi-pro and even our own professional NBA team the Houston Rockets. Plenty of time these leagues only get passed around word of mouth and maybe through social media. If you know of any leagues, tournaments going around town, let me know and I’ll make sure it gets shared on our facebook group and also posted on this website. There’s a big 3×3 tournament coming up in September and only 40 teams will be allowed to register so don’t miss out. If you’re not a member of our group, make sure you are by clicking www.facebook.com/groups/houstonstreetball and you’ll get notifications of daily interactions of players all through out town.
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