Guyana are the champions of the Suriname 2018, FIBA Americup 2021 Caribbean Prequalification tournament, defeating Antigua and Barbuda 83-70 in Paramaribo, Suriname on Saturday night.
Both teams technically entered the final with a 100% record, however, Antigua was awarded a win over Haiti, thanks to the Haitians being disqualified for using 9 players born outside of Haiti. Guyana dominated all in Group A whilst Antigua relied on their defence to make the semi-finals and the final.
Both sides were already qualified for the FIBA Americup Qualifiers in October having made the final four on Friday and were thus playing for the title.
The games on Saturday were played in difficult conditions as the humidity took it’s toll on the court leaving the final resembling basketball on ice rather than hardwood, as it had during Barbados’ OT Bronze medal match win over the hosts Suriname earlier in the evening.
The final was a face-off between two of the stars of the tournament, Guyana’s Stanton Rose and Antigua’s Bryan Matthew. It would be 18-year-old Rose who led all scorers on his way to the title with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Whilst not a classic the game was closely contested through three quarters with Guyana edging it at the half 41-39 thanks to a buzzer beater from Adams who was found inside by Adams after both sides had taken turns leading the tie and getting on runs.
That was the case until the final term when Guyana put their foot on the gas and never let off.
Early in the final quarter Antigua, through Ernest Scott III’s made a three-pointer to, got back to within a point, but that would be as close as Antigua would get to the title.
Guyana went on a two and a half minute, 10-0 run to ice the contest, thanks to Rose who scored and assisted three-pointers and four vital-points from Shane Webster, a high-schooler currently playing in America.
Anthony Moe, who impressed throughout the final thanks to his solid work on the glass (7 boards total) helped maintain the gap with his board work and scoring. Antigua, despite having time on their side had no answer to Guyana’s play and intensity as the game ran away from them.
Stanton Rose’s performance will have turned heads, as the 18-year-old dominated the final with his scoring ability from all over the floor, his battling to pull down the boards and his slick passing which put his men into good positions to convert. The halftime buzzer-beating inside pass for Adams was particularly pleasing and it was a surprise to see Adam’s minutes limited, especially with how well he had linked with Rose.
The two sides will be joined by Suriname and Barbados in Americup Qualification with Guyana’s underdog journey putting the rest of the Americas on notice as a team to watch out for during the next step of qualification. Guyana will need to be taken seriously as they try to make it to the big show in 2021, they are the real deal and worthy champions.