MM Futures had the world of summer hoops holding their collective heads in disbelief as they pulled off a historic upset, beating Spain 28-20 at the Quai 54 World Streetball Championship.
The ‘Futures’ carried the flag for Great Britain against a pro-heavy team of Spanish ACB players who were heavily favoured to win against the upstart Brits. Spain came into the game fresh off the back of a the most dominant win of the tournament, blowing out China by 40, which had many insiders tipping them as favourites to win the whole tournament. However, the resilient ballers from Britain once again refused to lose – led by the dynamic backcourt of AJ Roberts and the mercurial talents Jules Dang-Akodo.
Throughout the hotly contested game, AJ Roberts stepped up when called upon to make plays in clutch situations – his dribble drive and pull game was most prominently on song. Ably assisted by the hardest working man on the glass, Allie Fullah and super-strong Sam Toluwase, ‘Futures’ did well to dominate in the paint, which opened up the perimeter for the Dang-Akodo show.
Too hard to guard and just too cold to hold, Dang-Akodo showed why he was the top player in the U18 MM 2014 division last summer, earning game MVP honours, impressing thousands of startled fans with his predatory defence and ice-cube-cold composure on offense. Each time Spain threatened to get back in control of a game everyone had them heavily favoured to win, ‘Crown Jules’ proved time and time again to have the answers. The better he played, the more frustrated the Spanish became as they just couldn’t find a way to stop the UK’s fastest rising star.
As the game went on into the evening, the entire MM Futures team played with heart, passion, unity and all-out commitment until the time finally ran out – allowing them all to finally stand back and take stock of the monumental 8 point win.
“Words can’t express how proud we are of these boys” said MM coach Jay ‘Junior’ Williams. “They’ve just beaten, on paper, the best team in the tournament which featured 6 ACB players from Spain’s top league. They won’t know what that means, but to put it into context it’s like a non-league football team knocking off Manchester United or Chelsea, in terms of salary and positioning. Best of all, they deserved it as they outplayed them in every part of the game and showed what happens when you come together and play as a unit, trust each other and execute the game plan” Williams enthused.
Of all the games played throughout the tournament, there is no question that this game in particular best embraced the Quai 54 strap line, “Bring Your Game, Not Your Name”. With the win, the Futures achieve history by being the first ever MM squad to progress through to the semi-final round of the tournament, amongst the final four of the Worlds best summer teams. With France and Spain both knocked out at the hands of Brits, Midnight Madness won’t be a name forgotten any time soon.