PHILADEPHIA, PA (AP) — There were jubilant scenes in Philadelphia as the Americans won their first OBWL Championship. The fans erupted on the final buzzer after the Americans won a tense game 6 battle against the London Knights and again the Garden erupted when Kendall Melanson was named Playoff MVP. “We couldn’t have done it without you Philly. The way you came out and supported me in my first year here and these guys I’m so greatful to call my team mates means everything.The only way we get this done is together”.
Players celebrated just as hard at the end of the game, for many of them this was their first win on the biggest stage of them all. Every player made their way over to John Newton (who spent the game on the bench in street clothes willing on his team mates) for a long embrace and words unknown in the ear of a teary eyed American star who will now know when he leaves this game it will be with a ring on his finger.
“Part of this was for John” said Melanson in the post game press conference. “This court is soaked in his sweat, this is his franchise and he’ll always be the greatest player to this franchise. This is his team, all year long we looked to him for direction and I’m just so glad we got it done for him and everything that this franchise means to him”.
Jorge Sibley had a serious chance to be named the Playoffs MVP. Coming into the Finals the Americans had a perfect home record throughout the playoffs and in the first 2 games of the series in Philly, Sibley made sure it stayed that way. Sibley elevated his game to a new level draining 6 threes in both games to electrify The Garden. If not for a quite game 3 Sibley may well have been given the honours. Over the course of the 6 game series Sibley drained 22 3 point shots and shot over .500 from down town. When asked if he thought he should have been named MVP Sibley said “It doesn’t bother me at all. Kendall was great for the entire playoffs and he was great in the Finals. He had no match, teams tried but he wasn’t gonna be denied. I helped him get a lot of those points too so I’m happy enough with that”.
Winning the finals was no easy feat for Philly. “We were worried about some teams” Said their GM. “The Sun Kings were a problem for us in the regular season, the Snipers are full of stars and both of those teams tested us immensely. The Huskies looked to be a threat but coming up against London we were more worried about the way this team is run by their management and the legend that goes along with the London Knights. To beat their system and their mastery of the game means a whole lot. They shocked us in game 3 and gave us our heaviest defeat of the whole season so the way that we figured it out and changed up our gameplan over games 4 and 5 is especially pleasing. We feel that they really targeted a couple of our players so adding more defensive minded players that don’t hurt our scoring ability too much was the key to winning the series”.
The way the team was built is perhaps the most interesting part of this Championship. Only 4 players on the current roster was drafted by the Americans. John Newton is now 35 years old, David Crowther with pick 26 in 2031, Harvey Breeding with pick 6 and Mikel Hetrick with pick 12 both from the 2032 draft. Of those four Harvey Breeding played regular minutes until London exposed his defensive weakness which spurred Philly to play David Crowther in the final 2 games of the Finals.
The 2032 free agent period was when the Americans signed 3 cornerstones of their Championship build. The Americans exploited the Chicago Blaze’s salary misfortunes and signed superstar point guard Jorge Sibley and Franklin Almond from underneath them. The same FA window saw the Americans sign Lloyd Berg to a long term deal who was an instant hit in Philly. The same year they acquired sharpshooter Ambrose Johnson, former Pioneer in the dispersal draft, a stroke of luck but in this game you need to pounce on everything that comes your way. Johnson would become one of those unsung players that would play his role quietly in the starting lineup and getting his job done precisely as needed.
Trade acquisitions have also been a vital part in Gibson’s vision. Long time American and valuable defensive big man Ethan Budd was traded in, as was starting shooting guard Emery Paterson. The crown in the jewel of all of this was the draft day trade they made with OBWL giants Boston Buzzards bringing in superstar power forward Kendall Melanson. Boston’s GM Jason Warnke called the trade a gift to Philly. In the end it was a gift that finally tipped the Philadelphia Americans over the top of the mountain that only a handful of teams have managed to climb.
One rear minimum signings have also been important to this team. Mickey Smith has been great as the backup point guard and Darwin Sabin fulfilled his role as backup small forward shining in the round 2 matchup against the Sun Kings. Big men Herman Winslow and Eldon Witham round out the squad.
The final word from John Newton “PHILLY FOREVER MUTHAFUCKA’S”
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