On an amazing Sunday with the first sunny day of the summer crowds gathered for the second week of the 2017 Venice Basketball League (“VBL”) season wrapped up this Sunday after a slate of 5 highly competitive games. As with every game day, the morning kicked off with #ChurchOfHoops, a weekly skills workshop for LA’s youth run by VBL’s non-profit initiative, the Kid’s Venice Basketball League (“KVBL”). This week’s program, headed by Coach PD, who took the kids to Sam “Ziggy” Diaz’s School of Handles – a crash course in the fundamentals of ball handling from one of VBL’s slickest dribblers.
Celebrities sighting included Lakers guard Coach Nick “Swaggy P” Young, producer Ansel Elgort, Chinese newest NBA player Guo Ailun and streetball superstar More Free.
And now, for our weekly hoop recap!
Mexico’s El Crew Takes the VBL Stage
Game 1 pitted Los Fearless, last week’s comeback squad, against El Crew, one of VBL’s esteemed international teams. Hailing from our great southern neighbor, Mexico, El Crew came ready to play in their first taste of VBL action, taking it right to the veteran Los Fearless team to carve an 11-2 lead. Los Fearless’s Poster Boy picked up right where he left off last week, scoring 8 of his team’s first 10 points.But it wasn’t enough to counter El Crew’s reliable team offense, led by their speedy PG Campos and El Fuego, a solid stretch 4.
The lead stood at 12 points going into halftime, but a barrage of three pointers and robust interior play from El Crew in the 3rd stretched it to 20+. The 4th quarter was basically El Crew’s victory lap, though Los Fearless put up a fight to make the final score respectable at 68-55.
Big ups to Player of the Game was El Crew’s big man: Drew Harris, who posted 8 pts and 19 rebounds.
China Elite v. MH (Swaggy)P
Our second game featured another international team, the Chinese Elite All-Stars. They had a rough introduction to the league in their first VBL game last week, losing handily to Pro Shot West. They knocked off the nerves for this week’s game against the ultra-talented Most Hated Players (“MHP”), taking an early lead in the 1st thanks to their start player PD. But MHP simply had too much juice, as well as a killer celebrity coach at the helm: Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick “Swaggy P” Young!
China Elite’s wasn’t without their own celebrity power, including certified Chinese hoopstar Morefree and 2 Chinese National team players but the squad had no answer for MHP’s player of the game Jarell “Bama” Tate who rocked the rim in all different ways on his way to 18 points and 7 rebounds. Another notable performance was DA, a skilled big men from LA who plays his pro ball in France.
Game 3 saw Metta World Peace’s team, stacked with two seven footers, the Panda’s Friend, take on the upstart Pro Shot West squad. Pro Shot West continued their destructive dominance on the court, maintaining a 20 points lead throughout the game and cruising to an easy 81-48 victory. Congrats to Player of the Game Amin “Know What Amin” who added 23 points and 6 rebounds in the effort.
The ever-dangerous Novastars team took on Sunblock in Game 4, led by Player of the Game and 3-time league MVP, Tristan “King Hustle” Wilson. King Hustle’s 22 points and 5 rebounds propelled Novastars to a 14-point W. Highlight of the game? Had to be the silky 3 pointer hit by celebrity recruit and VBL founder, Nick Ansom!
Project Backboard Comes Prepared
The day’s final game, which featured Hall of Fame vs. Project Backboard, was also its most competitive. It was Project Backboard’s first VBL game of the season, and they came ready to compete. Back and forth went the score, never stretching beyond 10 points for either team. Hall of Fame held a slim 39-34 lead going into half, but Project Backboard kept fighting, eventually forcing the first overtime period of the 2017 season. Perhaps it was Project Backboard’s celebrity reserve Deja Vu or maybe it was the raucous crowd on hand that pushed Project Backboard to a slim 81-79 victory. Either way, Hall of Fame is surely going to be looking forward to their next chance to take on Project Backboard! Congrats to Player of the Game Van Girard, who posted 30 points and 6 rebounds.
There it is, the day’s action in 600 words – be sure to come down to the Venice Boardwalk next Sunday to see Week 3 of this action-packed VBL season!
– Warren “Wojissimo” Szewczyk