(Photo Credit: Provided)
The British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) Bayside Blazers Basketball Team will again be representing the territory in the sixth annual ‘Battle of the Fittest’ basketball tournament in Dutch St Maarten from July 14, 2019 – July 20, 2019. The BVI Bayside Blazers are currently the championship team in that league and according to their Head Coach Ronald Simmonds aka ‘Gola’, “The team is excited about defending our championship title”.
The games that will be played at the L. B. Scott Sports Auditorium located at Longwall Road, Philipsburg, St Maarten, is part of the ‘Dreams to Reality Foundation’ annual event. The 12 players of the BVI Bayside Blazers include local basketball superstar, Jason A. Edwin who is the team’s captain, along with international basketball player and BVIslander, Kleon C. Penn who has made a name for himself in Puerto Rico.
Other talented local players making up the super squad are Killven M. Samuel, Dion M. Blyden, Kimani T. Stevens and Shamarr A. George. Another powerhouse representing the BVI is former college all-star player, Deon J. Edwin, along with United States Virgin Islands (USVI) star shooter, Khalid S. Gerard.
In addition, other players who have competed on Tortola with Bayside Blazers will join the team in St Maarten. These are American, Melvin H. Haynes III, Trinidad and Tobago’s Dextroy D. Manswell, along with Cleo D. Sears of the Bahamas, who played with the BVI championship team in 2018. Returning to St Maarten with the Bayside Blazers is also Daven D. Ottley who lives on Tortola.
The BVI Bayside Blazers have been endorsed to represent the territory by the BVI Basketball Federation, as there will be teams in the league from both Dutch and French St Martin/St Maarten, Aruba, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Dominica, Haiti and the USA among other competing regional countries.
The BVI Bayside Blazers will be managed by the Honourable Julian Willock, along with Assistant Manager and Treasurer Derrick R. Varlack. Meanwhile, the Assistant Coach is Trevor M. Stevens aka ‘West’ with Trainer, Karl M. Scatliffe and special advisor to the team and scorer Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’.
Some of the sponsors this year include Bank of Asia, Nagico Insurance, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley the Minister for Sports, Virgin Islands Motors, Dion A. Stoutt of STO Enterprise Ltd, Travel Plan, Road Town Wholesale, the BVI Olympic Committee, BCQS, Digicel, Travel Wize and the BVI Tourist Board.
In invited comments, Mr. Willock said, “I have much confidence in the coaching staff and the players and I appeal to corporate BVI for some more financial support, as these activities tend to be very costly”. He is also encouraging fans who can make the trip, to visit St Maarten during the games to “root for the hometown team.”
The BVI Bayside Blazers are expected to depart the territory on Saturday, July 13, 2019 for St. Maarten and will return home on Sunday, July 21, 2019.