SEASON 41, WEEK 2
PREVIEWS


 

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer

 

Foundation vs. Reckless
Bronze Division
2 p.m.

 

Mark Mercado is in mid-season form, scoring 31 points on Week 1. With his favorite NBA team, Warriors, winning the Finals, look for extra motivation from Mercado.

It's the first of 2 match-ups between two of the Finalists from last season's consolation bracket. Foundation is looking for revenge against Reckless, the winners of the Consolation Bracket last season. Reckless suffered a 1-sided rout courtesy of Chicle last weekend, 83-39 while Foundation out-lasted We Tried, 59-54. With momentum in favor of Foundation, will the 9x Champions avenge defeat from last season's Championship Game?

Reckless played later than usual and that contributed to a depleted line-up against Chicle. The team historically starts off slow and gains momentum as the season progress. Expect the team to erase any memories of last week's forgettable season debut, a match-up led by Luis Montes who finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds. The team committed 18 turnovers last weekend and shot just 13.6% from 3-point range. On the bright side, James Santillan (14 rebounds, 8 points) was active more than ever and Noel Serpas showed how mentally tough he was finishing with 5 rebounds, 4 assists...with an injury.

"Our group texts were bombarded with how sore everyone was," said a Foundation player. "I can't imagine how sore Noel was after his knee buckled after that injury...and he played through it after."

Mark Mercado led all players with a weekend-high on Week 1, scoring 31 points on 81.3% shooting. Mercado was a Runner-up for Player of the Week so look for Mercado to once again light up the box score as the team gets comfortable with their roles. GM Jonathan Wynn led the new look Foundation with 6 assists and he finished with 10 rebounds, 2 points. Adrian Eddington made his return with 17 points while Rommel Del Rosario added 6 points, 11 rebounds. Foundation is comprised of Championship veteran players, playing at 40% energy level. Stamina has been a huge concern and last week, We Tried came back from a double-digit deficit to nearly steal the season-opener.

 

Hoopers vs. East LA Dream Team
Gold Division
3 p.m.

 

Ant led East LA Dream Team in the post, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.

Both teams suffered a loss on opening weekend as former Champions, Hoopers, and East LA Dream Team (2x Defending Champions) fall to Monstars and East LA Dream Team, respectively. Despite the loss on Opening Week, Hoopers should feel good about coming back against Monstars on Week 1.

The team trailed by as many as 7 with 2 minutes left and came back with timely free throws and clutch baskets. Hoopers played well in the closing minutes, and it was  no coincidence that Hoopers played better without their ball dominant guards on the floor. The team is one of the oldest teams in Gold Division but their experience and they're willingness to accept their roles should make them contenders. Their biggest obstacle is their tendency to over-dribble a problem GM Gary Beiard should address to the team. They suffered a 76-74 loss as Beiard led the team with 22 points, 4 steals. Uzoma Kalu added 12 points, 12 rebounds while Kenny Farr added 8 points on 50% shooting. The league tried to make Hoopers vs. The Rock happen but The Rock requested for a night game and Hoopers is stuck, playing against the Defending Champions.

"It looks tough on the schedule but Hoopers should be aware that East LA Dream Team is playing their 3rd game of the afternoon, since they're playing in another league earlier in the day, " said a League scheduler.

Ant led Dream Team with 23 points, 17 rebounds while Finals MVP Ever Garcia added 15 points, 6 rebounds. The team played without 4 of their starters last weekend and Dream Team should be re-loaded as they try to avoid a second straight loss this season. Frankie Morales has been lighting it up for Dream Team the past 2 seasons and last week, he finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds. Morales, a veteran shooter who played with beloved Outlawz in the past seasons, was assured he wasn't the jinx when he finally won a Championship last season. With new Outlawz member, Fernando Ruiz in the line-up, Morales is concerned that Ruiz may be the culprit of those failed Outlawz Championships.

"If Dream Team doesn't 3-peat, you'll know Fernando jinxed it," joked Morales via IG.

 

Ball Broz vs. Relics
Gold Division
4 p.m.

 

These wide open looks are going to be rare when Relics take on Mike Peters and Ball Broz on Week 2.

Game of the Week.

After winning 18 Championships from 2007-2014, Relics took a 4 year break as teams like The Heights, Powerball, and FOE took turns claiming the throne as the league's best team. The new era of Championship teams weren't able to entice Relics to come back...until Mike Peters developed into the League's MVP.

The Reigning MVP put everyone on notice as social media blew up with comments criticizing the lack of defense played in Superstar. From The Rock, Relics, to former players who were spectators on social media, the league's older teams made it known that they were coming back to stop these new career-highs Mike was putting up.

25.
31.
61.
87.

Ball Broz. rival is East LA Dream Team, the Reigning 2x Champions, but Relics are trying to see how legit Mike Peters is these days. Will their best perimeter defender, James Acevedo, stop him from scoring double-digits? Will their best all-around defender, Andrew Knox, want to play the perimeter to try and hold Peters scoreless? As flashy as Relics is with their highlights and Championship trophies, this is a team that takes pride in playing defense.

Ball Broz has been a top team these past 2 seasons but the return of several veteran teams will test how authentic their recent run at the top has been. While Peters gets most of the spotlight, it should be noted that Center Steve Carpenter is a talented stretch 4 that can score from anywhere in the perimeter. The team thrives on the open floor with Robert Morgan, Chico V. and Lawrence Quinonez pushing the tempo and creating hustle plays. As impressive as the last 2 seasons has been, GM Gabe Rodriguez hasn't seen a team as experienced as the Relics, a team that soundly defeated the Champions and Ball Broz rival, East LA Dream Team.

"Personally, I don't really care who wins, I just want to see Mike Peters and Cisco Acevedo go 1 on 1," said a Gold Division General Manager. "Can you get that on Live Stream or something..."

 

Chicle vs. n W o
Bronze Division
5 p.m.

 

Mike Trout could not miss against Reckless last weekend. Mike, always supporting his teammates, purposely missed 3 shots just so CJ Pang could grab 3 rebounds to complete his first career triple double. LOL

Five players scored in double figures for Chicle, a team that routed Consolation Champions, Reckless, 83-39.

Chicle shot a combined 53.8% from the field and the team's assists total (18-7) was more than double their opponents. They limited their opponents to just 13.6% from 3-point range and their ability to create stops produced 18 turnovers. Damian Reyes finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds while Louie Venegas added 15. CJ Pang went triple dipping with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists while Jay Tapang added 13. The team doesn't have the talent to compete in Gold but their team chemistry is willingness to play for each other has them the favorite to take it all this season.

nWo lost half of their players to Foundation and the former Champions are starting over with CJ Collins and Beau Reyes at the helm. The team has added players from Killmonger but the lack of chemistry in a double-header weekend could give nWo a 0-2 record to start the season.

"They're playing 2 of the top teams in Bronze, a double-header at that," said a stats-keeper. "For a team that's rebuilding, that's a tough task."

 

 

n W o vs. We Tried
Bronze Division
6 p.m.

 

We Tried

For a rookie team, We Tried was very impressive in their debut. It was a controversial call that saw Cody Rote's 3-pointer get waived off in the game's closing seconds but regardless of the outcome, We Tried is looking like a contender in Bronze this season.

Anthony Meltcher finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds on Opening Week while Carlos Nava added 9 points, 3 rebounds. Cody Rote led the rookie team with 18 points and he was 50% from the field. The team shot 44% from the field but was out-rebounded, 49-35, as no player stood taller than 5'8 Center, Anthony Meltcher.

"Our team is short, but we play hard," said veteran F, Anthony Meltcher.

They take on a depleted nWo team, a team playing a double-header to start the season. The team has recruited heavily in the past few weeks but most of their players are offense-oriented and defense will be a concern for nWo this season.

 

 

Monstars vs. Prodigy
Gold Division
7 p.m.

 

Monstars rarely miss from the paint. Ralph Morelos finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds on 63.6% shooting.

Monstars takes on rookie team, Prodigy. The team is making their debut this week and the scouting report is non-existent for Prodigy,

Monstars' scouting report looks like this:

- They rarely miss in the paint. They combined for 80.6% from inside 3-point territory.
- Andrew Martinez (19 points, 9 rebounds) is one of the fastest players in the league.
- Morelos Brothers combined for 36 points, 25 rebounds on Opening Week.
- Jared Ojeda led his team with 5 assists and 3 three-pointers on 45% shooting.
- Free throw woes must be addressed. They almost gave the game away against Hoopers, a team that trailed by 7 with 2 minutes left.
- The team from Baldwin Park played with just 5 players. Depth also needs to be addressed.

 

 

Prodigy vs. The Rock
Gold Division
8 p.m.

 

Probably one of the funniest General Managers in the league, GM Ben Sin has gone on record to say The Rock won't be as competitive this season but we'll see how long he stays true to that statement.

The Rock takes on rookie team, Prodigy. While the scouting report is non-existent for Prodigy, The Rock's scouting report looks like this.

- Former 2-time Champions suffered a 73-39 loss against Renegades.
- Mike Ashanti led the team with 11 points on 4-for-18 shooting.
- The team shot 26% from the field and was out-rebounded, 41-28.
- Playing recreationally to honor late Center, Dale Barnes.
- Their players are competitive so look for the team to recruit heavily in the coming weeks.
- Veteran players are expected to return for The Rock this week, so look for a better Week 2 showing.

Interesting quote of the week from GM Ben Sin:
"Monstars is playing without a bench. If I were Hoopers, I would run them. Easy for me to say that because I'm not in that situation, but I would try to take advantage of that weakness."

With Prodigy playing a double-header, look for GM Ben Sin to capitalize on Prodigy's schedule and try to run their opponents off the floor.