The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team is set to continue its play in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas World Cup Qualifiers, with a rematch against Venezuela, this time at the Poliedro de Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela, this evening.
The game gets underway at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and can be viewed live on FIBA’s YouTube page.
The team arrived in Venezuela from early in the week and got some practices in with the head coach from the last window, Moses Johnson. This is the first half of the final window of competition. The second half will be against Panama in Panama City, Panama, on Sunday, in which The Bahamas will go after a sweep of that nation.
“The guys have started to build some cohesion,” Johnson said. “I like the energy from the guys and they seem to be getting along well. The coaching staff is pleased with what we have seen so far. We will be ready for Venezuela.”
Making up the squad are Kadeem Coleby, Dominick Bridgewater, Godfrey Rolle III, Ahmad Pratt, Robert Nortmann, Kentwan Smith, Livingston Munnings, Roosevelt Whyley, Qyemah Gibson, Bradley Nairn and Jean Rony Cadot.
“The selection was an arduous process,” Johnson said. “We had several injuries, guys stuck in their playing town where they could not get visas, some players could not travel at the last minute but we are here. I always stick with my guns because the team that we have is the team that is supposed to be here. We are going to prepare them for Thursday and I am sure that we are going to give a great effort.”
The last time The Bahamas played Venezuela was back in August here at home at the Kendal G.L Isaacs National Gymnasium. In that game, Bahamian National Basketball Association (NBA) players Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Kai Jones suited up for The Bahamas, but Venezuela’s fourth quarter surge earned them an 86-81 win.
“We are telling the players to stay resolute, connected, together and focused. We do not want them to mind the noise in the market. This place is going to be rocking with people screaming and being negative but we have to stick together. We have to worry about what we can control and not worry about the rest,” Johnson said.
The Bahamas cannot qualify for the FIBA World Cup anymore as the team sits in fifth place in Group E with a 3-7 win/loss record. However, they can play spoiler to Venezuela who has an identical 7-3 record with the Dominican Republic and Argentina.
“We have an opportunity to rank in the top 10 in the Americas. It is something that we have never done, so this is important. We cannot qualify but Venezuela is on the cusp of qualifying. They are tied with the Dominican Republic and Argentina, so we can come in here in a hostile environment and send them home packing from qualification and add them to the pools in future tournaments in the summer. This is very important for us, especially against Venezuela to put out our best effort forward and go out there and win both of these games, and help ourselves in the world rankings,” Johnson said.
The Bahamas’ play in the November window moved them up three spots to number 57 on the global scale with 188.9 points. They are at number 13 in the Americas.