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Barracudas Give Patriots a Run For Their Money! - Oct 17, 2010

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LIGHTNING very nearly struck the same place twice last night.

Playing in their first home game of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) sophomore season, the Brunei Barracudas took defending champions, the Philippine Patriots, down to the wire at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

Coming back from a 10-point gap in the last quarter, the Barracudas were leading 61-58 in the final few seconds before the Patriots' Junjun Cabatu (193-F-84) broke the home fans' hearts with a dagger from three-point land.

The Patriots then went on to win the game 72-67 in overtime, the first OT for an ABL game in Brunei.

Brunei's first professional basketball club pulled off the upset of the year when they beat defending champions the Philippine Patriots 95-70 in Brunei last December, the result the first time a team from the Sultanate had beaten the region's powerhouse at their own game.

Though he is still searching for his first win in three games, Barracudas head coach Ozell Wells had nothing to feel ashamed about with yesterday's loss and rightly so.

'I hope we gave the fans their money's worth tonight (Saturday),' said the American coach.

'That's (the loss) just the way the ball rolls.

'Little (Patriots import Donald Little) fouled Garnett (Barracudas import Chris Garnett) under the basket but noone called that. We had extra fouls and I told the players to foul them (the Patriots) but they didn't call it as such.

'It was a good screen (for Cabatu),' he explained.

Barracudas' American import Chris Commons (204-F-84, college: USC Aiken) led the game in scoring with 17 points, while four treys from Chester Tolomia (191-G-80) helped him to finish second in the team's scoring charts with 15. New point-guard Ramsey Williams (178-G-80, college: Hawaii) capped off an impressive performance with 14 points, with Bryan Faundo (198-C-84) also scoring 14.

Cabatu led his team in scoring with 16 points while Little and Egay Billiones each came up with 14. The 6ft 10in Little also had 13 rebounds.

Garnett pulled down the most rebounds in the game with 14, though he only had four points.

Down 10-points (55-45) after the first two minutes of the final stanza, it looked like game over for the Barracudas.

But going on a 10-0 run on the back of some tight defence, the Barracudas tied the game at 55-55 before the Patriots took a 58-55 lead through Cabatu.

Williams hit one of two free-throws and Faundo made it 58-58 soon after. Williams went on to give the hosts a 60-58 lead after two more free-throws but Commons only hit one of his two shots from the charity line with 16 seconds left on the clock.

It was still a one-possession game but the arena was erupting non-stop in the final two minutes until Cabatu struck the three.

The score was 65-61 to the visitors before the Barracudas got on the scoresheet in overtime with three free-throws from Tolomia.

The scoreboard then read 67-64 before a three from Tolomia from his sweet spot on the left baseline evened the scores again to give the home side hope.

But the Barracudas rebounding deserted them in the next few plays and Billiones hit a three to make it 70-67 after four consecutive offensive boards from the Patriots.

Cabatu missed his pair of free-throws before Willliams missed a lay-up and Warren Ybanez sealed the game with two free-throws.

Head to head in the opening few minutes, the Patriots surged ahead at the end of the first quarter and led 19-15.

It was nearly a double-digit deficit early in the second quarter but a smart time-out by Wells made sure that wasn't the case, and a regrouped Barracudas hit the next four points.

Williams had a prayer from three-point land that was answered at the end of the half to make it 33-27 to the Patriots, and they entered the final quarter trailing by only seven (50-43).

'I'm very happy with everyone,' said Wells, who refused to name his team's best player. 'There is no 'I' in team, we all have the same 'Barracudas' logo on our chest.'The Brunei Times

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