YUNG SHUE WAN, Lamma Island, Hong Kong -- Can a pack of vicious Vipers spring high enough to sink fangs into the flanks of lofty Dragons? That’s a key question after recent action in the Lamma Island Pinoy Basketball League (LIPBL).
Winners twice in as many games, the Purple Vipers and the Golden Dragons share first place. The latest games played out on May 6 under scorching sunshine at Yung Shue Wan’s outdoor basketball court.
For many players, the greatest difficulty was not their opponents, but coping with mid-day heat. “It felt so hot that I really wanted to carry a water-bottle in one hand and an electric fan in the other when running up and down the court,” said one participant.
The challenge of battling for points, rebounds and loose balls in sauna-like conditions will worsen in the weeks ahead. A word-to-the-wise for organizers: they’d best be ready at courtside to treat possible heat-stroke, not just bumps, bruises and strains.
Tested to the limit, the Dragons nudged the Black Panthers 69-67. The Panthers battled hard, despite having just seven players available. After one quarter, the shorthanded Panthers led 15-10. At halftime, they trailed by eight points. Late in the third quarter, the scoreboard showed a 40-40 deadlock.
The Vipers hissed ferociously with a 79-68 victory over the White Stallions. This fast-paced game saw the Vipers lead throughout, although just 40-39 at halftime. In the second half, they slithered ahead to stay.
Clawing back from an opening-game defeat, the Brown Lions toppled the Aqua Sharks 77-62. For the second time in a row, the Sharks played with less than a full lineup.
The next action takes place on May 20. For the exact schedule, players and fans must visit the Lamma Hoops page on Facebook.
Golden Dragons -- 2 wins, 0 losses
Purple Vipers – 2 wins, 0 losses
White Stallions – 1 win, 1 loss
Brown Lions – 1 win, 1 loss
Aqua Sharks – 0 wins, 2 losses
Black Panthers – 0 wins, 2 losses
Caution, lady! Beware of the Sharks.
Players appear unwilling to share.
A leading Shark scores again.
Hunting in a pack: Brown Lions cluster near the net.
Off-balance, Stallion Jun Togle unleashes a jumpshot.
Leading lights: a subtle shooter
clear of a dominant shot-blocker.
Shark Richard Fernie fires over the Lions' Makha Diop.