2019 SUMMER  |  SEASON 44
WEEK 5


 

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer


BASSETT PARK

 

Chicle (1-3) vs. Sleepers (0-3)
GOLD DIVISION
8:30 a.m.

 

Will Sleepers get their first win this season or will former Bronze Champions, Chicle, keep them winless after Week 5?

Sleepers are led by Damon Sullivan who is averaging a team-high, 25.7 ppg on 41.8% shooting. Damon is grabbing 11.3 rpg and leads the team with 15 assists, an average of 3 assists per contest. Sleepers have added depth after starting the season with just 4 players as Dale Batac (11.0 ppg) and Sameer Bhatt (11.5 ppg) have shown ability to score from beyond the arch. Some say Sleepers should have started off in Bronze but Damon is a gamer and he is looking for a team to play with in Platinum Division. The problem with Sleepers isn't on offense, rather than defense where opponents are scoring at will in the paint against the rookie team.

Chicle is led by Center Danny Villalobos and he is averaging close to a double-double with 19.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg. Danny is shooting 46.8% from the field and is averaging 1.3 spg, 2.0 apg. Danny's match-up (James M.) is more athletic but size favors Danny and he should maintain his scoring average. CJ "Nitro" Pang is averaging 13.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg while Mike Trout is averaging 10.3 ppg. Jay Tapang, former Finals MVP, has been in and out of the line-up due to injury and the team's struggles coincide with his production and he is averaging 6.5 ppg, 2.3 apg on 26.5% shooting.

 

Bullets (2-1) vs. Fire Squad (1-3)
GOLD DIVISION
9:30 a.m.

 

It was a Rivalry Game last season but Bullets have bigger fish to fry as they match-up with rivals, Tune Squad, on Week 7. Bullets face off against another Championship squad in Fire Squad, a team they lost to on Rivalry Week courtesy of Brandon Ortiz's buzzer beater.

The last time both teams met, Bullets defeated Fire Squad, 77-76 as Brandon Ortiz led all players with 10 assists. Ortiz finished with 19 points, 3 three-pointers, but none was bigger than the last shot, a game-winner against Bullets. Fire Squad have won 2 straight as Ortiz leads the team with 2.3 spg, 22.8 ppg. GM Otto Guillermo is averaging 13.7 ppg, 2.7 apg while Brandon Aranda is averaging 7.0 ppg, 2.5 apg. The team added players that took up significant minutes on Week 4 and Fire Squad needs to manage their player's minutes in order to avoid a situation seen in Platinum Division. Powerball added too many players and their original players core have expressed dissatisfaction with playing time.

"We saw it with multiple teams, new players are being added and the original players are sitting on the bench," said a stats-keeper. "Some have asked for trades, but you can't get too greedy with talent and shove the old players away on the bench."

Bullets are also on a 2 game winning streak and despite adding players who could take up significant minutes, GM Daniel Donato has seamlessly integrated players that buy in to the system. Uzoma Kalu is averaging 5.7 ppg, 1.7 apg as a big guard while Marcus Eggum returned to the line-up, averaging 9.0 ppg. Eggum and Rick Gutierrez (17.5 ppg), two All Stars who led Bullets to a 7-1 record last season, have been nonchalant about their stats as long as the sacrifices lead to a Championship this season. Sal Escandon (Player of the Week, Week 4) is fresh off POW honors and he is averaging 27.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg.

 

IHOB (0-0) vs. McDaddy's (1-2)
BRONZE DIVISION
10:30 a.m.

 

"We want them for Rivalry Week," said McDaddy's guard, Juan Rodriguez.

Superstar Basketball admin gave Juan...one wish... as IHOB make their long-awaited return after sitting out for a season and a half. Arvin Delapaz (4.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Adrian Lecesne (11.5 ppg, 1.5 spg), Justin Lecesne (9.0 ppg), Nick Perez (13.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and Richard Morales (5.0 ppg) are aware they're playing double-headers to catch up with the schedule and they make their season debut with IHOB against their former teammates, McDady's.

McDaddy's is led by Fernando Ruiz and he is averaging 13.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg. Elias Ayala made his return to Superstar Basketball on Week 3 and he finished with 11 points, 4 steals. The guys from East LA have been on a recruiting spree after IHOB decimated their roster and took half their players. McDaddy's have 2 roster spots left before their capacity hits at 15 players and they need to pick wisely on who will play for McDaddy's for the remainder of the season.

 

IHOB (0-0) vs. United (1-1)
BRONZE DIVISION
11:20 a.m.

 

Can IHOB sweep their double-header? They take on United, a team also trying to catch up with the schedule by playing double-headers.

Eric Escobar leads United in scoring with 24.5 ppg on 60.7% shooting. Escobar was hot from 3-point range knocking down 52.4% shot attempts and he leads the team with 11 three's. Joseph Molina is averaging 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg while Estella Gutierrez is averaging 11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg. In 2 games this season, United leads Bronze Division in scoring with 78.0 ppg and have more 3-pointers (16) than the rest of Bronze Division. Will United attack from 3-point range, an area they shoot 44.6% from, or will United attack the paint against a more athletic, energetic ball club?

IHOB players that defected from McDaddy's like to run and they can shoot. Although they lack size, they have players (Nick Perez, Rich Morales) who take pride in defense so look for shots in the paint to be contested. United could try to out-run their opponents, a team that will have their endurance tested since they are playing in a double-header.

 

Public Enemy (1-2) vs. United (1-1)
BRONZE DIVISION
12:10 p.m.

 

Injuries took a toll on rookie team, Public Enemy, but after a long 2 week break, the rookies should be back to 100%. They return against United, a team playing a double-header against IHOB.

It's great to see when Bronze Division players take the step to play in higher divisions and on Week 4, Noel Marquez, Player of the Week for Week 1, made his debut for Gold Division Tune Squad. It was a solid game for Marquez who finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. That self-esteem should carry over to his Bronze Division team as Public Enemy tries to snap their 2 game losing streak. Noel is averaging 13.0 ppg, 1.7 apg while Kosmond Russell leads the team with 5.7 apg. GM Joseph Flores is scoring 9.3 ppg, 1.3 spg while Renzo Munoz leads the team in scoring with 20.5 ppg.

United didn't fare well in their double-header on Week 4 after losing to Eazy Money, a team that is 3-0. United defeated Relentless in their first game of the season as United became the second team this season to have a female player on their roster. There has been talk of bringing back Co-Ed Division and with 2 females making their debut on Week 4, Co-Ed Division could be making a return on Season 45.

 

Eazy Money (3-0) vs. Relentless (1-2)
BRONZE DIVISION
1:00 p.m.

 

Eazy Money has won 3 straight and GM Steven Ancheta has had a difficult time picking up Bronze quality players. Like his cars, Steven only wants the best and that couldn't be more true with the roster he put together in Bronze Division.

"Alex is a helluva player," said Colony HS Coach, Johnny Dukes. "He was a member of the team when I won my first CIF ring."

Shout out to Johnny for the "anonymous tip" and Alex Ochoa, a player that SHOULD play in Gold instead of Bronze, is averaging 26.0 ppg in a developmental division. Ochoa logged a double-double with 12 rebounds, 3 steals and shot 55.6%. GM Steven Ancheta is averaging 5.0 ppg, 2.0 apg while Devyn is scoring 10 ppg in 3 games.

Relentless has lost 2 straight games as Joel Contreras leads the team with 20.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg. Tony Gonzalez is averaging 11.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg while Fabian Garcia is averaging 9.7 ppg, 2.0 apg. Kenny Morales has been developing in his second season and he is averaging 7.7 ppg, 2.3 apg. Relentless plays at a slower tempo and the uptempo game Eazy Money implements could result in a 3 game losing streak for Ramirez's Relentless team. The team must control the tempo, control the glass, and not give their opponents an opportunity to get into their running game.

 

Playas Only (3-0) vs. Tune Squad (3-0)
GOLD DIVISION
2:00 p.m.

 

Two undefeated teams face off as Playas Only take on Defending Champions, Tune Squad. The Champions have a double-header and their depth will be tested against undefeated Playas Only and Empire.

Six players are averaging double-digits in scoring for Tune Squad as Jeff Briegel and Noel Marquez average 17.0 ppg for the Reigning Champions. Ismael Arellano, last season's Rookie of the Season, is averaging 13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg while Vincent Rodriguez III is averaging 11.0 ppg, 3.3 spg. Vince leads the team with 4.3 apg but his shooting woes have been evident this season, as he puts struggles to shoot 30% from the field. The All Star/Regular Season MVP is beefing up while preparing for his Freshman season at Rio Hondo college and luckily for Vince, he has players that are capable of filling up the stats-sheet. Despite the shooting woes, Vince isn't concerned especially against a team that he feels is inferior to Tune Squad.

"We play against them at LA Fitness, you really think we would lose to them," said the Reigning MVP. "Let's play them..."

Jason Rodriguez is the division leader in scoring and he is averaging 30.0 ppg on 56.3% shooting. Miguel Salazar is averaging 25.0 ppg while Steven Davila is scoring 17.5 ppg on 48.3% shooting. The team is averaging 87.0 ppg (ranks 4th) and ranks 2nd in three-pointers made with 42. The team played with just 5 players on Week 4 and they gave Chicle, former Bronze Champions, their 3rd loss of the season. Melissa Rodriguez became the first female player to play in Superstar Basketball this season and she is averaging 11.0 ppg on 80% shooting. If Playas Only beats Reigning Champions, Tune Squad, it would be a huge statement for a rookie team that has Jason Rodriguez a favorite for Rookie of the Season.

 

Empire (0-1)  vs. Tune Squad (3-0)
GOLD DIVISION
3:00 p.m.

 

Empire began their season with a loss as Will Torres led all players in scoring with 21 points. The team from Inland EMPIRE has a double-header against Reigning Champions, Tune Squad and former 3x Champions, East LA Dream Team. With just 6 players suited up for Empire, look for Torres to make significant roster changes as Empire plays a back-to-back against 2 former Champions.

Empire made their debut on Week 4 against Fire Squad, another former Champion. Khalil Dukes was the second leading scorer with 17 points, 9 rebounds while Alwyn Jordan added 11 points. Aaron Hill finished with 8 points while Torres led the team with 4 three-pointers.

Tune Squad has not lost a game since March 31, Season 43 - Week 6. With a back-to-back double-header, it would be wise for Empire to show up early to scout the team they're playing.

 

East LA Dream Team (0-1)  vs. Empire (0-1)
GOLD DIVISION
4:00 p.m.

 

Three Gold Division teams are playing 3 straight back-to-back double-headers starting with Tune Squad. The string ends with East LA Dream Team, a team that has played only 1 game in the first four weeks of the season.

East LA Dream Team is 0-1 losing to Goons on the Season opener. Derrick Tamanaha and Ever Garcia are both averaging a team-high, 33.0 ppg while Tim Austin is averaging 13.0 ppg. Their 90 point production ranks 1st in Gold but look for that to drop off as the team tries to catch up with double-headers for the rest of the season. It's been rumored for awhile that some of the core players from East LA Dream Team's Championship team (Season 40) may be coming back on Week 5 so those rumors to be answered this weekend.
 

East LA Dream Team (0-1) vs. Stay Up (2-1)
GOLD DIVISION
5:00 p.m.

 

A year ago, this match-up would have been one of the marquee match-ups in Superstar with former Champions, East LA Dream Team taking on The Team of the Future, Prodigy Plug. Fast forward a year and 32 teams later and this match-up is still a marquee match-up in Gold Division. Both teams have evolved but the pieces are there to remind everyone how that East LA Dream Team and Prodigy Plug are still thriving in Superstar.

Stay Up is 2-1 as underrated forward, Kevin Price leads the team in scoring with 20.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg. Garrison Deshay is averaging 13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg while Playoff P rounds off the top 3 scorers with 16.0 ppg. The team had an early 4th of July break as they no-showed against Stay Up, losing their first game of the season, 85-70. Stay Up has the personnel to be a contender this season but the players need to focus on their match-ups. They take on East LA Dream Team, a team they are familiar with in yesteryear's past.

Derrick Tamanaha ties a team-high, 33 ppg along with former Finals MVP, Ever Garcia, who is also averaging 33 ppg. East LA Dream Team is playing a double-header and is expected to fill out their roster with players from last season's Championship team.

 

Killmonger (1-1) vs. Powerball (1-2)
PLATINUM DIVISION
6:00 p.m.

 

Both teams have partaken at throwing verbal jabs at each other as Steven Ancheta, Killmonger GM, leads Killmonger against Powerball GM, Coach Randy. Both teams have a double-header but this match-up could be the Game of the Week.

After a disappointing Week 1 premier, Killmonger has turned it around thanks to speed, team play and ball movement. The ball moves faster when it doesn't touch the floor and Brandon Chavers makes sure the team is moving the ball. Brandon led Killmonger with 6 assists in his return and he is averaging 9.0 ppg on 44% shooting. Sean Harris is averaging 9.0 ppg while Jay Benjamin is averaging 21.0 ppg. From 1 to 8, the team is deep and any player is capable of scoring 20 on any given night. GM Steven Ancheta wants the team to feed the hot hand and on Week 4, it was Jay Benjamin who led the team with 29 points. It will be interesting to see how the faster, more improved line-up that played on Week 4 integrate some of the players who are making a return on Week 5.

Powerball is 1-2 and the team is maxed out at 15 players. Coach Randy has shuffled players in and out of the line-up and several players have expressed their concern about playing time. Mike Peters (17 ppg) was pulled out in the last 2 minutes on Week 4 and many are wondering what his status is with Powerball. The former Champions played inspired ball on Week 3 against Oh Deng

 

Beast Tribe (2-1) vs. Powerball (1-2)
PLATINUM DIVISION
7:00 p.m.

 

Beast Tribe, The Reigning Champions return to action with a double-header as they take on Powerball and Killmonger on a back-to-back set.

Beast Tribe forfeited their 4 pm game on Week 4 but the Champs should be back against Powerball. Beast Tribe has 4 players scoring in double-digits as Finals MVP Jason Harris leads the team with 19.0 ppg on 51.9% shooting. CJ Johnson is averaging 18.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg while Marcus Carter is averaging 13.0 ppg. The team thrives on playing defense and their imo has been their tenacity on both ends of the court. The team has routinely played in deficits in the 1st half only to come out strong in the 3rd quarter. In the last 2 seasons, only East LA Dream Team and Relics have beaten Beast Tribe in the Regular Season and they thrive on pressure situations. With that said, it would be wise for Powerball Coach Randy not to get Beast Tribe riled up because their opponents thrive on that.

"You saw what happened when they got Flint Tropics motivated, Flint Tropics beat them and many consider it as an upset," said a league analyst. "The last thing you want is to motivate the Champs, Beast Tribe, they thrive on that environment."

 

Beast Tribe vs. Killmonger
PLATINUM DIVISION
8:00 p.m.

 

Two of the strongest guys, pound for pound, could go head-to-head as Killmonger's Sean Harris takes on Beast Tribe's CJ Johnson.

Both teams play a double-header with Killmonger having a break in between. Killmonger thrives on their running game and if they can out-run Beast Tribe, a team playing a back-to-back, they could potentially lose to Beast Tribe by single digits. (lol)

Killmonger is younger, faster, and should try to out-run Beast Tribe. Problem is, Beast Tribe knows how to control the tempo and these old 30+ year old dinosaurs are still playing at a high level. While most guys at their age bracket are slowing the game down, Beast Tribe is running a full court press, with no bench. The team got deeper with Marcus Carter in the line-up and Beast Tribe is primed for another Championship run. The team plays like there is no tomorrow epitomized for CJ Johnson who never gets fatigued.

Sean Harris and Brandon Chavers have Killmonger playing unselfish basketball. GM Steven Anchetas has emphasized that stats don't matter... as long as everybody eats, which is a first because normally...

 

 

SOUTH HILLS HIGH SCHOOL

 

Below The Rim vs. The Rock Foundation
GOLD DIVISION
12:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Heat Check vs. The Rock Foundation
GOLD DIVISION
1:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Below The Rim vs. Heat Check
GOLD DIVISION
2:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Fuerza vs. Goons
GOLD DIVISION
3:00 p.m.

 

Pending

Fuerza vs. Winners Only
GOLD DIVISION
4:00 p.m.

 

Pending
 

Entourage vs. LPU Basketball
PLATINUM DIVISION
5:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Entourage vs. Flint Tropics
PLATINUM DIVISION
6:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Oh Deng vs. Underdogs
PLATINUM DIVISION
7:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

Relics  vs. Flint Tropics
PLATINUM DIVISION
8:00 p.m.

 

Pending

 

 

 

 

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 Game Previews and Recaps are written by league analysts on Saturdays and Mondays. If there is a typo on your name, please e-mail commish@superstarbasketball.org. Thank You.