2019 WINTER  |  SEASON 43

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer


Relentless vs. Stay Up
10 a.m.


Both teams are suffering from losing streaks as Relentless (1-4) take on Stay Up (2-3). Both rookie teams have lost 2 and 3 games straight, respectively.

Relentless prides on defense and GM Ruben Ramirez have 3 scorers that are capable of scoring double-digits. Chris Plantillas and Joel Contreras can create their own shots while Center Tony Gonzalez brings the old school back the basket moves. GM Ruben Ramirez has brought in size and Relentless needs to grab boards against Stay Up, a team shooting more than 10 three pointers per contest.

Stay Up has lost 3 games to some of the top teams in the division. Despite the losses, Stay Up ranks #7 with Gold Division scorers, Kevin Price and Paul Magaway capable of taking over for the team. James Magaway, a rookie scorer for Stay Up, has been on fire for the team but recent injuries have deterred Stay Up from staying on top of Bronze Division. The 1 week break should have helped Stay Up get back on the winning track.


Foundation vs. We Tried
11:00 a.m.


Foundation (3-2) stopped their 2 game winning streak against McDaddy's on Week 5. With the former Champions back on the winning side, will Foundation make it 2 straight? They take on We Tried, a team that ranks #11 (out of 12) with a 1-3 record.

Both General Managers are expected to be out of town as Foundation GM Jonathan Wynn roam the streets of Las Vegas with family. While Wynn is checking out the views of the fake Eiffel Tower, We Tried GM Anthony Meltcher has the luxury of seeing the Eiffel Tower first-hand, as he travels Europe on Week 6.

Foundation has experience and size but without All Star Wynn in the line-up, who will take over the team as the replacement GM? Kris Dick has been the team's leading scorer while Asher Avinger has gotten his teammates involved in an assist leading point guard role. As long as Foundation has 5 players and they commit to running with We Tried, they should get the W.

We Tried is playing without their arguably their best player in Anthony Meltcher. Cody Rote, a 3-point shooter, could take over the scoring role while guard, Johnny Truong is capable of being the team's playmaker. On average, We Tried is a decade younger than their opponents and it would be their best interest to try and out-run Foundation. Cherry-picking and cutting back on 3-pointers should give We Tried an upset, but will the team stick to the game plan without their All Star GM?


Fuerza vs. Fire Squad
11:50 a.m.


Fuerza is 1-2 and will be playing the rest of the season with double-headers. Playing without their leading scorer in GM Abner Rodriguez, can Fuerza upset the Champs?

Fire Squad, the Reigning Bronze Division Champions, have won 3 straight games. Otto Guillermo has been close to averaging triple doubles in their last 2 games while Brandon Ortiz continues to lead the team in scoring. The team lost athleticism in the off-season (Garrison Deshay, Nephi Fotiga) but has since added role players that complement the team.

Who will step up in Abner's absence? With Geo Bonilla expected to take over the scoring role, Fuerza could struggle if they cannot replace Abner's 20+ scoring production.


Bullets vs. Tune Squad
12:40 p.m.


Two of the top teams in Bronze Division face off as Bullets, winners of 5 straight, take on Tune Squad, a team that no one wants to play in the Playoffs.

"Ya'll looking good, we want to play against you guys," said Bullets high-flyer, Marcus Eggum.

"We're trying to beat you guys," said Tune Squad GM, Vincent Rodriguez III.

Both teams highly respect their opponents so expect a full out war on Week 6, before Rivarly Weekend (Week 7). 

Former MVP, Jorge Parrales, has been sitting out in hopes of getting his body right for the Playoffs. In his absence, Rick Gutierrez has led the team in scoring and rebounding while Marcus Eggum has made his weekly appearance in the highlights. Like Parrales, GM Daniel Donato has been sidelined to injury and Wilson Parrales has the team's floor general in Donato's absence. Mike Enriquez has officially been the team's coach on the sidelines and Bullets is undefeated with a 5-0 start.

Can Tune Squad give Bullets their first L of the season? GM Vincent Rodriguez III and Arellano has been unstoppable for the rookie team and both scorers should set the tempo for their teammates. The Bishop Amat alumni squad has rejuvenated the lost art of the mid-range game, hitting timely shots from the perimeter, even with defenders on their faces. If Tune Squad continues to shoot lights out, Bullets could have their first L this season.


Prodigy Plug vs. Monstars
1:30 p.m.


Prodigy Plug is 2-2 and sits #6 in the Gold Division with a 2-2 record. They take on Monstars, a team that has lost 2 straight after starting the season with a 2-0 start.

Monstars have re-tooled their line-up by adding key players in Vince Rodriguez, Geoff McTosh and Deon Garey. GM Jared Ojeda has added new talent while welcoming the return of Ralph Morelos. All Star Andrew Martinez continues to lead the team in scoring and while the team from Baldwin Park has the talent to beat some of the top teams, their lack of experience playing together also leads to questionable losses (notably against The Rock). Talent wise, they match-up with Prodigy Plug, a team that plays better in the morning hours of the day.

Prodigy Plug plays in several leagues outside of Superstar but there's no question they play their best when they're fresh, and during the Playoffs. Marcus Carter is a walking double-double and Playoff P is hitting from long distance. Their best player, Isaiah Watson, is the team's leading scorer and Kevin Price has developed into one of their best 2-way players.


Killmonger vs. The Rock
2:20 p.m.


Killmonger has lost 3 straight and sits at the #10 spot with a 1-3 record. They take on an inconsistent team in The Rock, a veteran team that ranks #7 with a 2-2 record.

Johnny Blaze (27.5 ppg) was named Player of the Week when Killmonger won their only game of the season. The team has since lost 3 straight but their guard heavy line-up could be turning the tide soon. Jushay Rockett made his first appearance of the season on Week 5 and if Killmonger GM Steven Ancheta can get their best players to show up, Killmonger could easily be a Top 4 team. The problem is attendance, or lack thereof, as Sean Harris and Shad Earby have both sit out a couple of games this season.

While Killmonger loses games with their best players sitting out, The Rock wins games when most of their players sit out. The Rock has an inspired win against Monstars on Week 4 but inconsistency led to a questionable loss against LA Riots. Chris Ashanti, back from Achilles injury, has been the team's best player this season while Terrel has been the team's second best player. GM Ben Sin's scouting report for Killmonger is out the window considering it's unknown what Killmonger's Week 6 roster looks like.


Death Row vs. Entourage
3:00 p.m.


It's the Battle of Winless teams as Death Row (0-5) takes on Entourage (0-4).

Death Row players have moved on playing for Baseline All Stars and Relics and the team has suffered by sitting in last place. A win against Entourage could turn their season around but is it a little too late for Death Row? GM Derrick Andrews has been the team's most consistent scorer but the addition of Steve Hibachi could make Death Row dangerous down the stretch.

All Star GM, Joey Cejudo, is back with his team and Entourage has 4 players that can score in double-digits. The problem with the Chino based team isn't their offense but rather their offense. They can score with the best of them but their inability to stop the opposition from scoring has Entourage sitting at 13th place. CJ Cooper and Bishop Mency are putting up numbers from 3-point range, but once again, it comes down to defense.


Empire Elite vs. Relics
4:00 p.m.


A scheduling frenzy led to Relics playing Empire Elite for the second time this season. The last time these 2 teams faced each other was on Week 2 when 20x Champions, Relics, defeated Empire Elite, 69-66.

Relics was led by Finals MVP Roderick Evans Taylor and he finished with 26 points. AJ Thomas led Empire Elite with 9 assists as Relics used a late game surge to beat Empire Elite. Both teams have added new players to their roster and despite playing each other for the second time this season, this is a whole new ball game.

Empire Elite has added James Chicago and Kevin Swink giving Empire Elite size, shooting, and playmaking. On the opposite end, Relics have added veteran sharp-shooter Nick Sanderson and All Star Center, Justian Hamilton.

Beast Tribe is looking at a double-header against the top 2 teams on Week 7 facing Team Challenge ALS and Relics.

Relics will take on Team Challenge ALS in their much anticipated match-up on Week 8.


LA Riots vs. Team Challenge ALS
5:00 p.m.


Team Challenge ALS has won 5 straight and sits atop the rankings with an undefeated record, 5-0. Big Guard Johnny Dukes has gone on social media to say the team has been unchallenged and it could be another week or 2 when Team Challenge ALS faces Beast Tribe and Relics. Facing rookie team, LA Riots, will their opponents manage to upset the league's #1 team?

Sean Marshall, the leading candidate for MVP is nearly average 30 ppg. The team combines for 20 plus assists per contest as Team Challenge ALS feature 5 different players averaging double digits in scoring. They are bigger than most of the elite teams in Gold and have been winning games by an average of 25.

LA Riots is 2-3 and are led by Wesley Harris who is averaging 31.7 ppg. After stopping Try Hard's and Reigning MVP Ryan Carter on Week 5, look for Team Challenge ALS to put the clamps down on Harris and LA Riots.


Chicle vs. Winners Only
6:00 p.m.


Chicle, former Champions, suffered just their 2nd loss in 21 games and are hoping to bounce back against the team they were originally scheduled to play on Week 5, Winners Only.

Chicle played out of their element and lost to a team that was playing their 3rd STRAIGHT GAME, Tune Squad. Chicle needs this win mentally and a loss against winless Winners Only could unravel their whole season. The team is filled with All Stars and MVPs in CJ "Nitro" Pang, Jay Tapang and Shadon Knight. They have shooters in Mike Trout and Damian Reyes and a GM in Chris Duran that seems to put the team together, seamlessly.  The team should beat Winners Only, a team looking for their first win, but then again, the same was written on Week 5 when they should have beaten Tune Squad.

Winners Only have 2 games and they are ranked #12 with a 0-3 start. GM Isaac Berliner (5.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) plays with 110% intensity and has a tenacity to score and grab boards. Newcomer, Kevin Costello (19.0 ppg) , leads the team in scoring while Jeriko Santos leads the team in assists (2.0 apg). They have a tough double-header against 2 of the top teams in the division - Chicle and Below The Rim.


Below The Rim vs. Winners Only
7:00 p.m.


Below The Rim has won 2 straight games and their 3-2 start is more than just brute strength and physical play. Their shots are starting to fall and their team play has Below The Rim playing above average. Will the rookies build on momentum gained in recent weeks or will Winners Only scratch the W column for the first time on Week 6?

Caleb Oviedo, rookie scorer for Below The Rim, suffered a leg injury on Week 4 and sat out the match-up against Tune Squad on Week 5. It was an impressive win against Tune Squad as Julius "Tazz" Patin and Alex Villacis has found their shot in Below The Rim's continued offense. The team has noticeably been setting up their team-mates and wide open shots are falling for the team from Compton.

Winners Only is just as aggressive and just as physical as Below The Rim. Below The Rim must match their intensity and continue to play with a chip on their shoulder. If Winners Only is looking at an upset, their shots from long distance need to fall as Below The Rim has a tendency to shut team's out from scoring in the post.


Beast Tribe vs. Try Hards
8:00 p.m.


Beast Tribe suffered a lack-luster loss against East LA Dream Team in their second set of a double-header. Can they bounce back against Try Hards, a team that also suffered their first loss of the season on Week 5?

Try Hards is 4-1 after losing an emotionally charged match-up against Team Challenge ALS. Reigning MVP, Ryan Carter, is on pace to beat Ken Ubom's 41.3 ppg and he is averaging 48.8 ppg in 5 games. Last season, Ryan scored 225 points and he has already surpassed that with 248 points. The team isn't a 1-man show as Fernando Ramos, Shaq Gilbert, and Juan Banda have all taken turns putting up huge numbers this season. Manny Morales has been one of the league's best 2 way players this season despite having career lows this season.

Beast Tribe has 6 players averaging double digits in scoring this season. They are led by former Champions, Jason Harris, CJ Johson, and Sheldon Pace. Despite being one of the oldest teams in the league, they press for 40 minutes at a time and have found the secret to staying young.

"We just want to play basketball. All Day!" yelled Jason Harris, multiple times this season.


Baseline All Stars vs. East LA Dream Team
9:00 p.m.


Baseline All Stars forfeited last weekend and East LA Dream Team almost forfeited against Beast Tribe. It was an inspirational win against one of the best teams from Inland Empire and East LA Dream Team is hoping to make it 3 straight against wins. With a 3-2 record and sitting at #5, it looks like former 3-time Champions, East LA Dream Team, is making noise en route to the Playoffs.

Derrick Tamanaha is the team's best player while Matt Austin leads the team in scoring. Brandon Ortiz has complemented the team's personnel while Mike Peters is the team's best 3-point scorer. The team lost Sean Weeks and several players are questionable for this match-up.

GM Calvin Mitchell has the former Champions sitting in 12th place and Baseline All Stars is currently 0-2. The team has several double-headers down the stretch of the season and Calvin needs to recruit heavily if Baseline All Stars is going to win games this season.