The Ciego de Avila Búfalos won the LSB for a ninth time, ratifying their position as ultimate champions. Photo: Jose M. Correa

The LSB final which took place on April 10 in the packed Giraldo Cordova Cardin Sports Hall could virtually be described as the chronicle of a death foretold. Ciego de Avila fulfilling the prophecy, securing its ninth championship in the Superior Basketball League (LSB) with an indisputable 68-64 win in the fourth and final quarter over longstanding rivals, Capitalinos of Havana.

The Capitalinos players, distracted by the deafening cheers of Ciego de Avila fans, only managed to score six points the first quarter while the champions of made 19.

Ciego de Avila, lacking five key players from last year’s team, but with a young and talented squad, fought hard through to the final quarter, thanks to a strong performance which unnerved their opponent, with Búfalos star trio William Granda (13 puntos), Yoan Luis Haití (16), and Yasser Rodríguez (12) making a decisive contribution to the game, maintaining both a strong attack and defense, reclaiming the restricted area and forcing Havana to the peripheries.
Quarter scores of 6-19, 16-18, 13-16, and 20-24 gave Jesús Martos’ team from Ciego de Avilathe advantage from the beginning. Meanwhile at the other end of the court, experienced players and championship veterans Reinier Castillo (16), and Eliecer Lima (10), were the highest scorers for the Capitalinos.

Experience and determination were key to Ciego de Avila’s victory, Cuba’s best basketball team of the last decade, whose strength rests on three crucial players from the national team. It is also worth highlighting the contribution and performance of several players in this tournament, such as point guard Pedro Roque, shooting guard Neysser Coutin and small forward Héctor Martinto who will soon be giving us something to talk about.

Thus ended another edition of Cuba’s LSB; a competition which unfortunately continues to lack the quality of similar tournaments in the region.

Cuban basketball must continue working toward securing matches against its rivals in the FIBA Americas League, after a positive debut experience by the Capitalinos in the tournament this season.