There is good news coming out of Panama where Belize’s national U-sixteen male basketball team has won its first game. On Wednesday night, the team faced off against Costa Rica in group B of the COCABA U-sixteen Basketball Championships and beat Costa Rica with a score of seventy-two to fifty-nine. The team left for Panama on Monday and will participate in two other games; tonight against team Panama and on Friday against Honduras. In group B, Panama is considered the only other formidable team beside Belize and in the overall tournament; Mexico is seen as the country to beat. The twelve athletes and three coaches are optimistic and prepared, says President of the Belize Basketball Federation, Paul Thompson and their sights are on the 2015 Centro Basket U-seventeen Tournament.

Paul Thompson, President, Belize Basketball Federation

Paul Thompson

“The top two teams from this group will play against the top two teams from group A which consists of Mexico Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. The top two teams will go to semifinal and the top two teams from this tournament qualify to pay Centro Basket next year. We are hopeful that we can make the cut. Tonight’s game versus Panama will be a formidable challenge; in the past they have done well. And if we can get past them, I am optimistic that we can go into the semifinals and do some real damage. Over the last five years, we’ve met Mexico three times in these qualifying games for U-fifteen to men’s and every time, Mexico has beaten us either in overtime or by two points or by three points. But for the team, I think they have to look forward to tonight’s game getting passed Panama and getting out of their group. If they get to the semifinals then we can start thinking about Mexico. Mexico seems to be, or not seems to be, but Mexico is the team to meet. They are formidable. I know they beat Nicaragua today, one twenty-seven to forty-nine. So they are the powerhouse of this region.”

Channel 5