Transit Center Airmen compete against Kyrgyz in basketball game

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the Transit Center at Manas defeated a Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University basketball team 93-51 in a game here Jan. 5.

This was the Transit Center's third game and second victory against a local team.

The Kyrgyz team started strong and was up one point after the first three minutes, but halfway through the first quarter, Transit Center team members picked up the pace. Although the Kyrgyz team played strong with sound defense and "hail Mary"-style passes across the entire length of the court, the Americans took a 22-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. Using a zone defense and full-court press, Transit Center team members cashed in on turnovers and consistently found the mark from the outside, extending their lead to 51-25 at halftime.

"The Americans also have more players to replace each other, but we are doing what we can and playing to the best of our abilities," said Evgeni Amelin, the KRSU coach and trainer.

He forcefully motivated his team's players at halftime, but gave them a break by admitting the American team is primarily comprised of military members who keep in shape regularly, whereas the students' main priority is studying.

The Kyrgyz team showed enthusiasm and heart in spite of the lopsided score.

"All American (style) basketball is interesting to watch," the trainer said. "All your team plays just like American basketball is played - they are all fast, they are all good at jumping! They are all like Michael Jordan."

Early in the fourth quarter, the Transit Center team members had the game well in hand, but both teams continued to compete while showing a high-level of comradeship. Each player helped his opponent off the floor if he fell, fought for the win and displayed good sportsmanship.

"The Kyrgyz team played really hard," said Christopher Williams, a 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron supply craftsman. "They were fundamentally sound, and it was a good game."

"They played with a lot of heart and didn't give up," said Armand Boddie from the 376th ELRS Expeditionary Theater Distribution Center.

Ultimately, the Americans' victory was attributed to playing well together as a team and hustling.

"I don't know about playing like Michael Jordan, but we are fast and we can jump, that's true," Boddie said with a laugh.

"It was an amazing game," said Kyrgyz fan Begench Gurbansahatov, an international relations student at the university. "I think we should play (against each other) more! I thought about making a baseball team ... so maybe next time we'll come here to play baseball."