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BBAL Week 2 Preview (Javion Rodriguez)

Week 1 of the BBAL was a show… but Week 2 will certainly be a movie with many anticipated matchups this weekend! Get your popcorn and let’s get it!

In the 4 o’clock hour, we have the Tropics and Dragons facing off who are both coming off losses. Tropics, coming off a tough loss with top guys struggling with efficiency, look to capitalize on open shots and missed opportunities. Dragons, coming off a forgettable loss with also lack of efficiency but more-so inconsistent ability to attack weaknesses and securing rebounds. Both teams I believe will turn it around and not lay down. Each of their rosters have talent that in past seasons, these guys have proven their ability to ball. Tropics need a better game plan for their type of offense considering some teams in this league can shut it down with their size as we saw last week. Guys like Brad Atkinson and Jordan Crespo need to be better and capitalize open looks.They cannot start slow and play from behind like against the Titans because in this league, it’s hard to play catch-up. The Dragons I would have hoped watched film and witnessed what I and others saw hurting them last week. They need to set the tone and come out ready. The offense cannot be strictly run through Ricky Cruz either. Hopefully Elijah Terry debuts to take the pressure off Ricky and Kevin Roldan can have a bounce-back game. If they fail to secure boards, miss open shots, give up open looks, as for any team, that’s a recipe for disaster. I hope to see a difference and more passion this Sunday or things could get ugly fast for the Dragons.

Next up, at 5 o'clock, we have the CherryPickers vs the Titans. The CherryPickers came off a flat-out embarrassing loss and a bad look for the defending champs are searching for their first win this weekend. They simply were outplayed and couldn’t handle the shooting clinic courtesy of the 8 Balls. They missed a ton of open looks I noticed and even gave up open looks which the 8 Balls made them pay. They certainly didn’t look as sharp as last year and you can see how the departures of Kevin Roldan and Devon Pinkkard hurt them. 2 tough matchups back-to-back weeks to start the season is rough for the defending champs. But, in order for them to defend their title, they need to capitalize on open looks and play the CherryPicker defense I’m used to seeing. John John and Belly, I expect to take a bigger step as a one-two punch to lead the ‘Pickers to victories. The Titans are coming off a hard-fought win against the Tropics and look to take the league by storm being the first 2-0 team. The Titans played pretty solid basketball last week with guys you expect to show up, showing up. Johnny Besecker’s draft pick Chase Yarberough showed flashes at being just the push the Titans needed to bring one home. Johnny himself, he struggled getting shots to fall and I noticed body language of defensive frustration from him. Overall, If everyone continues to play up to par, Johnny’s shots should eventually start to fall. And if that’s the case, this team will be quite scary come playoff time.

To start our evening in the 6 o’clock window, we have the Woodpeckers and the Gremlins. Both teams struggled despite having tough matchups. This fairly revamped ‘Peckers squad didn’t look horrible. I definitely see the potential. They were just unmatched against the Huskies and couldn’t get their shots to fall which cost them momentum especially on the defensive end. Early on, Danny Bomberger looked ready to play but after the beginning of the game, he struggled and couldn’t buy a bucket. Aleer Gonzalez played solid too, but they remind me of the Orlando Magic this past year. They have tons of good role players and need that one superstar or someone to have consistent superstar presence to make an impact at the contending level. On the other hand, the Gremlins struggled defensively in the first half,which carried over until late game, they woke up until it was too late. They had Makai-Ortiz-Gray show up scoring nearly 30 and Nasiir McFadden putting up 21. Other than them, the offense was asleep for the most part and that didn’t make up for their difficulties struggling to stop the Bullies even without Qel. Gremlins need to come out with better defensive intensity and need production from other guys if they hope to come out on top Sunday.

The first of my favorite matchups this week, between the Bullies and Huskies. Both coming off convincing victories in last week’s fiasco. The Bullies after beating the Gremlins in impressive style showed flashes of legitimacy despite being a title favorite pre-season. From what I saw, they just need to stay on the gas pedal the whole game as this cost them and allowed the Gremlins to crawl back later in the game. I’d prefer to see more production from their top guys like Kobe but, with everyone getting buckets that seems to be their way of basketball. At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. The Huskies debuting their new blackout uniforms did not disappoint. They displayed second half adjustments which helped them to victory. Elijah Washington and David Kamwanga weren't afraid of the moment as they both nailed clutch shots. Huskies need to start fast if they want to compete with the Bullies. Another thing I noticed, they need to defend the perimeter better especially there being no guarantee that the Bullies will struggle from beyond the arc like the WoodPeckers.

The final game of Week 2 is my personal favorite and most anticipated, Lanc Show vs 8 Balls. Both teams won last week in fairly dominant fashion as the clash between these two will be fun to watch. Lanc Show's intensity was definitely an issue for the Dragons and it’s something they’ll have to keep pushing as a team to win and intimidate other teams. If they have consistent production from guys like Jack Engle, Ajani Simmons, and more, we could see them coming out on top. However, the 8 Balls by no means are a team to fool around with. If they catch fire, especially Jase and Julian, things could get ugly quick for the Lanc Show. You simply can’t stop Julian and Jase’s three point shooting specifically if they’re hot, really the Lanc Show just need to contain them and make others beat them if they want to come out on top. Continuing dominating the glass, making open shots, and forcing role players to beat them should be the Lanc Show’s recipe to victory. On the other hand, finding open looks for shooters, transition buckets, and competing in the rebounding department should be the 8 Balls recipe to victory. Sunday, we’ll see who executes more to push themselves to a win!

  • Javion Rodriguez 

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