Week 2 in the Liga Nacional gave us a little bit of a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the clubs. Here's the breakdown of the week's action:
Ola Verde, looking for it's first win on the young season, faced off with Soles and came away with the victory 75-72. Maurice Baker (184-G-79, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Oklahoma St.) led all scorers in the contest with 27 while Aaron Eneas (202-F-78, agency: Promotex) and Elys Guzman (206-F/C-82, college: Bemidji St [read more]
Week 2 in the Liga Nacional gave us a little bit of a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the clubs. Here's the breakdown of the week's action:
Ola Verde, looking for it's first win on the young season, faced off with Soles and came away with the victory 75-72. Maurice Baker (184-G-79, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Oklahoma St.) led all scorers in the contest with 27 while Aaron Eneas (202-F-78, agency: Promotex) and Elys Guzman (206-F/C-82, college: Bemidji St.) both contributed with mirrored outputs of 14 poins and 8 rebounds. Lorenzo Wade (198-F-85, agency: Interperformances, college: San Diego St.) paced the Soles with 16, Hector Hernandez (206-F-85, college: Fresno St.) and Terrance Thomas (198-F-80, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Baylor) both putting up 15 a piece. In their second game of the week, Ola Verde hosted the Potros and came away with another win, this time 79-73. Noah Brown (186-G-81, college: Appalachian St.) scored 21 of his 23 points thru 3 quarters in the win. Rafael Perez (193-G/F-82, agency: Paris Global Sports) doing everything humanly possible to keep Potros in the game with 35 points and 9 rebounds. Potros followed up the tough loss to Ola Verde by traveling to Tampico and taking on the Huracanes. Huracanes fell to 0-3 on the season 79-84 to Potros. Rafael Perez again was the man for Obregon connecting for 25 points while Omar Quintero (183-G-81, college: S.Nazarene) paced Tampico with 24. Tampico would make up for it 2 nights later by defeating Soles 80-74. Due in large part to a 17-2 fourth quarter run, Tampico came storming back behind Robert Hornsby (196-F/C, college: Troy) who had 21 on the night. Anthony Pedroza (191-G-79, agency: Edge Sports, college: Oregon) and Terrance Thomas each put up 17 for Soles but another loss means Soles is now 1-1 against expansion teams and 0-2 against the rest of the league. Ola Verde and Potros are now 2-2, Tampico and Soles fall to 1-3.
Lechegueros got their first win on the season defeating the expansion Volcanes 82-64 but fell 2 nights later on the road to the Pioneros 85-74. Nathan Brumfield (196-F-86, college: Oklahoma Baptist) had 17 points and 8 rebounds in the Cancun win while Harold Arceneaux (198-F-77, college: Weber St.) had 21 points and 7 rebounds in the loss, Pioneros using a 23-12 fourth quarter run to get the W. Volcanes looking to get healthy at home against Abejas was greatly aided by Antoine Broxsie (209-F-79, college: Oklahoma St.) who who had 20 points and 14 rebounds while covering the rim for Toluca. Unfortunately it was not enough in this one as Abejas won going away 95-71. Volcanes did not provide the league with box scores, nor report game time statistics to FIBA in their two losses. Pioneros move to 4-0 on the season, Lechegueros and Abejas are 1-3, while the expansion Volcanes fall to 0-4.
Toros powered by a 17-7 fourth quarter run, defeated Algodoneros 79-77. Rene Rougeau had 17 points and 9 rebounds in the win while Blake Walker (196-G/F-82, college: Portland St.) put up 24 in the loss. The game between Fuerza Regia and Lobos Grises was a game of the teacher and the pupil as LaSelle Taylor took on his former player in Reginald Jordan (193-G-68, college: N.Mexico St.). The pupil got the best in this one as Monterrey defeated Durango 94-90 in overtime. Jeremis Smith (203-F-86, college: Georgia Tech), also a former player of Taylor, was big against his former coach with 23 points and 8 rebounds while Michael Gale (193-G-82, college: Centenary) had 15 and 7. Another subplot to the loss for Durango was that the team was rumored to be in the running for Jeremis Smith's services prior to the season and Monterrey won out in his acquisition. Jovan Harris (191-G/F-81, college: USF) had 24 in the loss. Durango held a rather large advantage in the paint outscoring Monterrey 46-34 in points in the key but was dealt the setback in large part to a poor performance at the charity stripe connecting on a dismal 13 of 27 in an overtime loss. Lobos Grises would look to turn it around a couple nights later against Toros but dropped another squeaker 103-102. Quentin Gonzalez came up big for Toros with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Myron Allen (180-G-79, college: Lee JC) had 27 and Jovan Harris 23 in the loss. Toros held a big advantage in the assist column 24-11 and in free throw attempts 35-22 in the win, moving to 4-0 on the season. Monterrey also came away with a close win against Algodoneros 95-92. Michael Gale had 24, Alejandro Sanchez (209-C-85) a nice game with 22 points and 9 rebounds, Jeremis Smith 18 points and 8 rebounds. Blake Walker had 24 and Paul Stoll had 21 points and 7 assists in the setback. Fuerza Regia joins the Toros at 4-0, while Lobos Grises and Algodoneros fall even at 2-2.
Xalapa and Veracruz were both tested on the road but found a way to pull out close victories due to clutch fourth quarter performances. Xalapa used a 24-14 run in Aguascalientes to get the better of Panteras 91-86. Leandro Garcia Morales (186-G-80, agency: Interperformances, college: Texas A&M) came up big with 27 in the win while Ricardo Melendez (180-G-83) 34 and Keith Gayden (202-F-83, agency: EM-PA, college: Duquesne) 23 points and 11 rebounds gave the Halcones everything they could handle inside outscoring the visitors 48-38 in the paint. Aguas was dealt the setback in part due to a 18-28 performance from the line. A little further west, the Jags fell in overtime 93-84 against Halcones Rojos. The expansion team was searching for it's first win in franchise history but came up just short. An inspired defensive effort by the Jaguares caused 38 Veracruz turnovers and the team had a chance to win in regulation but was unable to convert at the free throw line. Dominque Richard had 27 points and 10 rebounds while Lawrence Hill (203-F-87, college: Stanford) had 24 for the winners but 6 and 8 turnovers respectively kept Bahia in the game. Leroy Davis (200-F-81, agency: Jeffsports Int, college: Georgia St.) connected for 20 and Jermaine Johnson (201-F-85, college: Charleston) had 19 points to go with his 5 steals. Xalapa had an easier go of it against the Jaguares a few nights earlier coming away with a 93-72 victory on the road. Leandro Garcia Morales again was the man for Halcones with 27 while Jermaine Johnson paced the home club with 19. Jaguares commited 28 fouls to Xalapa's 7 and were horrible from the charity stripe connecting on a dismal 10 for 25. With the wins, Xalapa and Veracruz move to 3-1, Panteras and Jaguares fall to 0-4.
This week's home and away set between rivals saw undefeated clubs Angeles de Puebla and Titanes de Mexico City matchup. Puebla got the better of DF in both encounters 103-83 and 87-73. Jermaine Walker (198-F-77, college: Miami (FL)) had 22 in the first game and 19 in the second as Luis Bethelmy (200-C-86) had 21 in game 1 along with 16 points and 10 rebounds in game 2. Erick Martin (196-G/F-76) had 20 points and 7 rebounds in the first game while Victor Avila (210-C-77, college: Oklahoma) had 18 points and 9 rebounds in the second. DF seemed to control the glass in the 2 game set outrebounding Puebla 69-55 and in 2nd chance points 27-2 but field goal percentage was a key to victory for Angeles besting DF by 57-39 and 51-45 in the two wins. Angeles moves to 4-0 while Mexico City falls even at 2-2.
To recap the week's events, the leagues elite are being tested with Xalapa and Veracruz coming away with close victories and teams such as Soles struggling to get going this season. Expansion teams Toluca and Bahia still haven't gotten into the win column while Mexico City has gotten out to a respectable 2-2 start. Cancun and Puebla are showing they belong in the elite category, each improving their records to 4-0. This early season has been marked by the great performances of Latin players Luis Bethelmy and Gregory Vargas (182-G-86) in Puelba, Leandro Garcia Morales for Xalapa, Ricardo Melendez has been scoring at a healthy clip while teammate Antonio Garcia (203-F/C-76, college: Ky Wesleyan) has been leading the league in rebounding for Panteras. Rafael Perez has been lighting it up for Potros while Antoine Broxsie has been a double-double machine for Volcanes. You can get all the 411 on the Liga Nacional here at www.latinbasket.com - email us with team insight or roster changes at email@example.com
Xalapa - What can we say? They're Xalapa, they're going to be very good. A healthy percentage of the Mexican NT calls Xalapa home in August. A very competitve camp will help define the club this season. Ivan Deniz who defeated Xalapa in the finals for Soles 3 years ago takes the charge and Angel Gonzalez and Adolfo Sanchez will once again be the assistants after Gonzalez took over the club in the playoffs last season and guided them to a championship [read more]
Xalapa - What can we say? They're Xalapa, they're going to be very good. A healthy percentage of the Mexican NT calls Xalapa home in August. A very competitve camp will help define the club this season. Ivan Deniz who defeated Xalapa in the finals for Soles 3 years ago takes the charge and Angel Gonzalez and Adolfo Sanchez will once again be the assistants after Gonzalez took over the club in the playoffs last season and guided them to a championship. Finals appearances in 04, 05, 06, 08, 09 as well as the last two championship crowns... they will be loaded once again. Expect Stoll, Avila, Parada, Mata, Mendez, Zamora, Lopez, and Mariscal to prove once again that most teams in the LNBP have good imports and that the teams that win routinely have great national players. Soles has a change in leadership at the coaching position this season as Dan Tacheny moves over to Mexicali from Potros. Tacheny has been given the green light to shape the club into his vision and he'll be working hard to implement his system with Soles. Lorenzo Wade (198-F-85, agency: Interperformances, college: San Diego St.) and Kevin Kruger (186-G-83, college: UNLV) are the first imports to be announced. Wade played well for Hermosillo in the CIBACOPA although had to leave during the year to explore an opportunity in Europe. He is an explosive and athletic big guard that can get to the cup. He brings experience of a college career at Louisville and UNLV as well as a pro stop in Greece. Kruger is the son of longtime NBA coach Lon Kruger. Kevin was in camp with the Bucks a year ago and had a nice season in the D-League. He is known as a floor general and a terrific shooter from behind the arc. Horacio Llamas (212-C-73) has moved on to Cancun, but Hector Hernandez has been retained. Expect the club to be quicker and more athletic than in years past as several longtime stalwarts for the Soles have departed. Several deep runs in the playoffs and a championship 3 years ago were due in large part to the efforts of Llamas, Greg Lewis, James Penny, and former Louisville great Dujuan Wheat. A new coach, new players, and a new philosophy, but the same expectations in Mexicali: win often. Panteras has brought in Joel Munoz (179-G-80) as the Latin position, John Thomas and the talented Keith Gayden (202-F-83, agency: EM-PA, college: Duquesne) at import, returning Mexican players include the long and athletic Isaac Gutierrez (204-C-84) and Jorge Casillas (196-F-90) who played this past season for Cananea in the CiBaCoPa. Jacinto Alvarez (195-F-66) and Luis Rangel (180-G-82) will be solid contributors to the team's success as will Francisco Ibarra (210-C-84) who was an All-Star last season for Los Mochis. The team is currently negotiating with Ricky Melendez, James Parker, and Thiago Labbate. Camina Blanco from Uruguay will coach the team. Pioneros Quintana Roo - Cancun will once again be a solid contender in the LNBP this season. Gregory Grays (185-G-79, agency: Interperformances, college: Detroit Mercy) returns from last season and will have the ball in his hands for the Pioneros. Alberto Espazandin is the coach and the team has the financial infrastructure to be very competitive on the court. Horacio Llamas comes over from Soles and will give them a big man that a team can run and offense through. Llamas is very intelligent, a great passer, and the former Phoenix Sun has range out beyond the 3. Expect him to use that big body down low and help get Cancun deep into the playoffs this season. Monterrey has signed Reginald Jordan (193-G-68, college: N.Mexico St.) to coach the team this season. Jordan is a veteran player in Mexico and earlier in his career played in the NBA. This will be his first head coaching position and he will be working with team president Sergio Ganem on bringing some top level players to Fuerza Regia. Jordan severed under the tuteledge of Lasalle Taylor the last several years and is sure to bring a winner to Monterrey. Fred Hooks (198-F-82, college: Humboldt St.) and Jon Smith (206-F-82, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: Bowie St.) are expected to be back with Monterrey and the team is currently negotiating with Hiram Fuller. Mexican National Team member Michael Strobbe (201-F-85) is expected to play an increased role in the LNBP this season after another solid effort in the CIBACOPA and with the NT. The team is rumored to have acquired Lennox McCoy, who plays as a Latin, and to run the PG. McCoy played well in some key games in the Finals last season for Veracruz. Mexico City has some strong support this season as a change is expected in the way the city's team has been viewed in recent seasons. Titanes will be different from Estrellas Indebasket or Pilares. The team has been in conversations with several players from Cordoba as the team decided to sit out this season. The sharp shooting Eric Martin (196-G/F-76) is expected to fill a big role with the team and the organization is working hard with other top LNBP teams on the acquisition of cards and rights. The club is making a solid effort to sign some of the top Mexican players and will support those players with key imports. Potros were expected to be out this season but when Ensenada decided not to play they stepped right back in. Supported by ITSON, a top university system in Sonora, Potros call Obregon home. Rumored to be returning to the club is big man David Berghoefer (208-C-83, agency: Buck Andre, college: W.Carolina). Aldo Seaman is the GM and he always does a great job of putting together a solid roster. We're expecting big things from Potros as they look to improve on their season from a year ago. Jaguares de la Bahia (Puerta Vallarta) is an expansion club that is looking at playing their games in the neighboring state of Nayarit. Team President Lazaro Alvarado and GM Oscar 'El Mochis' Martinez are working hard to put together a solid roster. Tim Pierce is with the club now and is expected to be the star. The team may need a season to mature and adjust to the level of play in the LNBP but don't count them out, it's amazing how much can change so quickly with a new club and the right talent. Toluca is also an expansion club that will be playing in the state of Mexico. The natural rival to DF is also working hard to put a competitive team on the floor. Some of the same comments from above would be merited for the Volcanes. The hiring of Giovanni Rivera as Head Coach is a solid step in the right direction. Good luck to Toluca and Coach Rivera.
This was a brief synapsis of 9 of the 18 clubs in the LNBP this season. We'll take more time to talk about the other 9 clubs in our coverage of the league later in the week. As the season progresses we'll break down each club and look a little deeper into everything you want to know about Mexico. You get it all here at www.latinbasket.com
Leon, MX - Lechugueros de Leon have come to an agreement with F/G Mike Smith (201-G/F-76, college: La-Monroe). Smith has averaged over 20ppg in Cordoba Mexico, Venezuela, and Greece as well as playing 2 years in the NBA for the Washington Wizards. A veteran of NBA camps and top European competition, Smith has NBA range and is 6'7, capable of playing the 2, 3, and 4 makes him a very difficult cover. Mike has joined Harold Arceneaux in Leon and should form a terrific tandem in the LNBP [read more]
Leon, MX - Lechugueros de Leon have come to an agreement with F/G Mike Smith (201-G/F-76, college: La-Monroe). Smith has averaged over 20ppg in Cordoba Mexico, Venezuela, and Greece as well as playing 2 years in the NBA for the Washington Wizards. A veteran of NBA camps and top European competition, Smith has NBA range and is 6'7, capable of playing the 2, 3, and 4 makes him a very difficult cover. Mike has joined Harold Arceneaux in Leon and should form a terrific tandem in the LNBP. Information for other top international level players is available online at www.BeSeenHoop.com
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