MM All-Stars came close but fell short at the last hurdle in bowing out of the 2015 Quai 54 in the quarter-final round, losing out 34-31 to 4-time tournament champions, La Fusion, in Paris, France.
In previous years, any match up against a team of La Fusion’s calibre would have appeared a daunting task for any team from Great Britain as the French outfit field 6 players with international playing experience and are ‘Pro A’ throughout. However, the MM All-Stars matched their French counterparts, man for man with Ashley Hamilton, Ovie Soko, Orlan Jackman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning leading the way.
The backcourt blend of youth (Ed Lucas) and experience (Germayne Forbes) seemed to work well for the MM All-Stars as they held a slim 1 point lead for much of the game. Dunks by Bryan-Amaning and Hamilton, plus inspired play from the unstoppable Soko seemed to have the hometown favourites rattled going into the final minutes of the game. However, once again some crucial calls went against the MM team, sending the La Fusion to the line repeatedly in the last 45 seconds – from which they capitalised, with interest.
As the clock ran out, the feeling amongst the All-Stars was that they had let the game get away from them, rather than being beat by the better team. “This was a good team we played today – however we felt we could and should have won this game. We will go back and learn from this and come back stronger next time” veteran guard Germayne Forbes said.
“We’ve got a talented group of guys in the UK coming into their primes now. Providing we can keep them together and coming back to the tournament next year and beyond, I expect us to push for the title in the next year or so” MM founder Nhamo Shire added.
The quarter-final finish was a better placing than the 2014 edition, but clearly the team are far from satisfied and look forward to the opportunity to build on what was established in the 2015 edition.