It’s safe to say Midnight Madness has invaded Portugal’s Pro A team with yet another All-Star player added to CAB Madeira: Duke-Jermaine Forbes.
The legend himself, famed for his incredible work ethic and playing at an unguardable rhythm, has joined Orlan Jackman and Ejay Ofomata over in Portugal for the 2015-16 season ahead.
Forbes’ story is one of determination and passion for the game. Within the basketball community, he is renowned as a Midnight Madness ‘Hall of Fame’ player, a veteran who proved his game in the early days of Rough and Ready right through to recent Quai 54 tournaments. It is no wonder why he has gone on to do so well as his talent has afforded him opportunities to play around the world including England, Hungary, France, Switzerland, and now in the beautiful island of Madeira, Portugal.
With years of experience and understanding, Midnight Madness is proud to announce Forbes as an official ambassador for the London School of Basketball (LSB).
“It’s an honour to be a LSB Ambassador,” said Forbes. “To be a leader by example is what I strive for as it’s a great privilege to share what I have learnt to those who are coming up to be in my position.”
To follow his story, watch the video above and keep up to date with all that’s happening in Portugal by reading the game reports by Forbes below.
GAME REPORTS: CAB MADEIRA, SEASON 2015-16
OCTOBER 10 2015
GAME 1: CAB Madeira Loses Out To Oliveirense 69-58
“Players are only happy when they’re playing” is a statement that many people would agree with around the world. However, a more accurate statement would be, “players are only happy when they’re winning.”
The season commenced today for most of the teams in the Portuguese Basketball League – known as the LPB – and since it’s a fresh start, all the teams exude a certain hopefulness of reaching that ultimate end of season goal of trophies and confetti.
October 10th saw the first game of the men’s league competition for CAB Madeira basketball club, which meant travelling from the open-sea island by plane to the well known Portuguese city of Porto. Waiting with a season opening twinkle in their eye was Oliveirense – an athletic Portuguese team looking to establish themselves as a title contender in the LPB.
Considering I only had 48 hours and two practices to prepare for the match up, I did not start and so had the opportunity to observe the flow of the game, which was non-existent. Both teams played with caution, and yet paradoxically, mistakes were abundant. The score stayed low, and when I entered the game, I also became infected by the same cautious attitude. While I didn’t make many mistakes, I was not playing freely and it showed.
At half time, the teams returned to the locker rooms with the score close and low. I had scored 0 points which was not the start I was hoping for.
However, the second half saw both teams dropping their “safety first” mentalities and the pace picked up immediately. Fortunately for us, the increase in tempo took Oliveirense out of their comfort zone temporarily and we were able to take a 5 point lead as our confidence grew and victory was in our sights. In the third quarter I managed to score 5 points as a result of looking for more opportunities to shoot and create.
In the fourth quarter, momentum shifted to home team Oliveirense, and I noticed CAB Madeira became careless and fatigued. Perhaps it was the 5am wakeup or the 400+km trip that finally took its toll. We will never know. Mistake after mistake turned a small lead in our favour into its polar opposite, and the slight lead was now theirs.
I was able to become a little more comfortable in the final quarter looking for my shot, but was unable to make any of those opportunities.
Doing what we could to influence the game, we fought to regain momentum but our opponents displayed the poise and discipline needed to walk away with the victory of 69-58.
I tallied 5 points total in the game which was much lower than I had expected, but having only been with the team for a total of three days, maybe anything else was unrealistic.
Knowing that we had another game in 24 hours, we did not have the luxury of time to ponder on our mistakes. The coach made his concerns and pleasures known about the game just gone and then it was on to the next mission in Lisbon.
OCTOBER 11 2015
GAME 2: CAB Madeira Secure First Win Against Galitos-Tley 69-63
The journey from Porto to Lisbon was filled with a mixture of frustration and laughter. Frustration was expected since we had just lost to a team we knew we could have beaten. Laughter was in the air as we knew yesterday’s loss was behind us and a new challenge was on the horizon.
For myself, sleep was my priority since I had only slept two full nights in four days and I was beginning to feel the effects of the deprivation. Arriving and checking into a plush hotel could not have happened to me at a better time. Despite the excitement of the awesome facilities such as a golf course and spa, getting a full night’s rest was the only activity on my agenda.
The morning and afternoon for a professional basketball player is an up and down rollercoaster of relaxation and focus. Relaxation is needed to avoid burning the energy needed for the game too early, while focus is a priority to get through the team meeting(s) in which all our opponent’s strengths, weaknesses and tendencies are meticulously covered. The hope is that this information that the coaches have plucked from watching previous game footage, will be memorised by us players and used during the game to neutralise their points of attack, and attack their points of weakness.
The challenge on this particular day was Galitos-Tley, a team that represented the city of Barreiro just outside Lisbon. The scouting report highlighted their quick and smart guards as well as their athletic and confident bigs.
Coming off of a game that I would consider a poor performance, not only because I contributed minimally on the stats sheet, but mainly because we lost, I saw Galitos-Tley as an opportunity to put the past behind me and show whoever was interested that I had more game than I had showed the night before.
Both teams were up for the fight and this was apperent from the tip-off where the fast paced tempo and physical nature of this game were set. I started given a starting role for this game. Our coach had expressed that he wanted me to play with much more freedom than the game before. Prior to the game, I also sought advice from Mr Nhamo Shire, a trusted mentor of mine who always knew how to get the best out of me.
After a disappointing loss to Oliveirense, we were motivated to start aggressively which enabled us to take an early lead. During the first half, we dominated the game by making contested shots and stagnating Galitos-Tley’s offence with swarming team defence.
I was personally on a mission, not to do anything physically different but to play with a changed mindset and let the behaviour follow suit. By half time I had already tallied 12 points, more than double I had scored in the whole game previously. We went into half-time up by 11 points with the help of another great shooting display from Portuguese international, Fabio Lima.
The third quater was slightly more intense mainly because home team Galitos-Tley came out with a sense of urgency hoping to shrink our lead. We matched their efforts and managed to not only maintain our lead, but increase it to as much as 18 points. By the end of the third, CAB Madeira was up by 15.
The final quater was a frantic spectacle. To Galitos-Tley’s credit, they never gave up and so their continuous fight made the game a challange for us. They went to their full court press defence which forced a few turnovers and led to easy baskets for them.
They managed to shrink our lead all the way down to as little as 3 points while the home crowd started to make themselves heard as they sensed a swing in momentum. However, our verteran leadership wan not rattled, although we were well aware of the eminent danger. By controlling the clock and making some clutch shots we edged out the the victory by 6 points to finish 69-63.
I finished with a team high of 22 points which was consolidated by the team victory and the first of the 2015 season. Our record now stood as one win and one loss.
OCTOBER 18 2015
GAME 3: CAB Madeira Jump To 4th Place IN LPB After Win Against Lusitania 70-66
With our win loss percentage at 50%, our next game was crucial to establish ourselves as a team that was going to contend for a top spot in the league standings.
In Europe, usually the schedule dictates that games are played once a week as well as alternating home and away games. The LPB showed us that those rules do not apply here with two games back to back days in week one. This week the trend continued as we played our third game in a row away from home.
This time our opponent was Lusitania, another team based on a Portuguese island. By all accounts however, Terceira was a smaller and less developed island than the one I was temporarily calling home (Madeira).
It had already been an eventful week with the addition of a new teammate that happened to also be from my home town of London. Orlan Jackman AKA “OJ” is a household name on the British basketball circuit, and was now officially apart of the Madeira amigos. Jackman joining the team echoed the opportunities Midnight Madness provides for British players as the two of us had played together earlier this year when representing MM in Paris’ Quai 54 World Streetball Championship. I am looking forward to playing and building a relationship with the young and already accomplished hoop star.
Lusitania, on paper, seemed to be a team that was struggling to find their winning formula. Their record of 0 wins – 3 losses indicated that they were having trouble finding their stride, and our mission was to ruthlessly make sure that they didn’t gain any confidence on our behalf. Our coaches strategy was to press them early, and by applying pressure, they would be forced into mistakes. This plan worked like a charm in the first quarter and we were able to storm out to a 29-9 point lead.
This was not the first time this season we had found ourselves leading by double digits in the first half as we had done the same against our last opponents, only to allow them back into the game over the course of the rest of the match.
This game was no different. The second quater saw almost a polar opposite of the first in which home team Lusitania adopted their own pressing strategy to increase the game’s pace and force us into mistakes. They outscored us 20-8 and we went into half-time leading by 8 points 37-29. I had scored 8 points by half time as well as scored all the points for CAB Madeira in the second quater.
The second half was a back and forth affair where the home team made repeated efforts to take control of the game, and at times it may have seemed that they had done just that by tieing the score on a number of occasions. Our team resolve was tested constantly, but time after time we responded by making clutch baskets at timely moments. Our American import, Anthony Hill, had found his rhythm this game and made a major contribution in the points and rebounds coloumn. Our go to scorer, Fabio Lima, also put forth another outstanding performance with a number of clutch baskets and rebounds.
My major contribution and concern in the second half was on the defensive side of the ball. We had found a way to get baskets consistently in the second half, but so had our opponents. There was only one way we were going to consolidate this victory and that was by figuring out ways to stifle their offence. I managed to get my hands on a few loose passes and force some turnovers in the fourth quater that gained us a few extra possessions.
Lusitania fed off the energy from their home crowd, all the way down to the wire. However, due to the combination of accurate shooting and calculated defence, we were able to leave Terceira with another victory on our record with the final score reading 70-66.
On the way home I managed to get a glimpse of the stats sheet. I had finished with 8 points, 1 assist and 3 steals. However, it was later pointed out to me that I had actually scored 11 points despite what the stats sheet read. I had also scored a basket plus the foul in the third quater which should have taken my tally into double digits, but somehow the scores table managed to miss that. To add insult to injury, they also missed a few of my assists. According to my memory of the game, I should have been credited with 11 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Most importantly, however, the major statistic which was correctly recorded, was that our team now had 2 wins and 1 loss putting us in 4th place in the league.
We celebrated a birthday after the game as our team captain and Portuguese basketball legend, Jorge Coelho, turned 37 on this day. Winning the game in dramatic fashion allowed the celebration and our trip back to Madeira to be much more fun filled and enjoyable than if we had lost.
Another weekend down but still no time to rest on our laurels because the season as well as the excitement was just getting started, and another challenge was on its way.