Despite a deficiency where facilities are concerned, the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) 2017 Domestic Premier League Season is set to shoot off March 2 at the Barbados Community College (BCC).
During a press conference held Wednesday evening at Co-operators General Insurance Company Limited, the main sponsors for the past four years, BABA president Derrick Garrett said that this league season would be a challenging one where venues were concerned with several of their main facilities namely the Wildey Gymnasium, the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Kensington Oval Bond all being out of bounds.
A total of nine premier league teams will participate this year including newly promoted Hawks in place of Patriots who were demoted.
Garrett made mention of the fact that the 2016 basketball season was a taxing one due to the unavailability of referees which essentially forced them into a position of having to ask all clubs to send an official to be trained. However he said based on the registrations so far, that stipulation has not been adhered to and therefore BABA executives would have to meet to decide the way forward on that particular matter.
“The executive met and we were toying with the idea of playing in the communities but we felt that premier league would be better served at one central location and we will continue to be in the community with first division.
“We experienced a real crisis last year where we were down to basically ten to twelve officials to run the whole season and this resulted in the first division being run from April when it started, all the way down to November. I think that is too long and drawn out a season and we really need to increase the number of referees so that the season can be more compact,” he said.
There has been no real boost or incentives for this season, as the prize money and formats in all divisions remain the same. It hasn’t yet been confirmed but it is expected that some of the big names in local basketball will be wearing Urban Vybz St John Sonics colours this 2017 domestic premier league season.
Following the same format as last year, the premier league will be played on a round-robin basis with two rounds, the top four will then advance to the playoffs to contest a two best of three in the semifinals and three best of five in the final.
First division is expected to start early April and the women at the beginning of May. Meanwhile the junior tournaments, the Under-19 and Under-16, will be played in July and August during the summer vacation.
All games will be played at the BCC on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sunday nights. The premier league tournament will then break in May because of examinations at the college.
“We are going to fill in with the first division and the coordinator of the three on three tournament, Terry Inniss, will be coordinating some three on three tournaments during May and then we would recommence the season in June where we will finish the second half and then go to the playoffs, and hopefully by the end of June early July we would complete the premier league tournament,” Garrett said.
General manager of Co-operators General Insurance Company Limited Anton Lovell during his brief remarks expressed concerns about the lack of spectator attendance at basketball. He said that local basketball needed a home and even though finances were difficult to acquire for this venture, it was definitely one of the main solutions to re-generate the interest.
“I hope for 2017 we can see more spectator interest, I know it is difficult because we don’t have a permanent home where persons can any one time say ‘I going to this particular place to watch the game at a particular scheduled time.’ But understand that your executives are looking at ways to generate more spectator interest.
If we look overseas, the NBA is at its highest as far as spectator interest is concerned and I remember the days when persons say Michael Jordan finished playing so they stopped watching basketball. And now in my opinion we have outstanding players in this era LeBron James and Steph Curry,” Lovell said.