MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – University of Miami men’s basketball player Raphael Akpejiori continued his stint with Athletes in Action this week, contributing 10 points on 5-10 shooting against the Jamaican National Team, which featured former Cane Durand Scott.
“This was the best trip I've ever been involved with in basketball,” said Akpejiori. “We got to share the message of Jesus Christ to athletes like us and other people in Jamaica using basketball as our tool. I learned that as a basketball player, I have been given a platform that I can use to spread the message of God and touch the lives of a lot of people that look up to me.”
Following a three-game winning streak in Kingston, Athletes In Action fell to the Jamaican National Team in the second of a two-game friendly, 90-82. AIA also lost the first game 77-74. Despite a late surge from AIA and a strong scoring performance from Akpejiori, Athletes In Action came up short. Akpejiori, a Miami senior, continued his steady output with 10 points, also recording three rebounds and two steals in the losing effort.
Saturday’s 16-point halftime deficit created another roadblock for Athletes In Action. Missed offensive opportunities hindered AIA, but the team turned to other forms of execution to get itself back in the game. Defensive competitiveness proved to be the motivating factor behind AIA’s resurgence, allowing Jamaica to score only seven third-quarter points.
Athletes In Action managed to force overtime, but the Jamaican National Team’s strong start to the period proved to be too much. The end result was similar to Friday’s, as AIA lost, 90-82. Akpejiori scored 12 points while shooting 56 percent from the field. He also added seven rebounds and two assists in another strong effort.
Athletes In Action finishes its Jamaican tour with a 3-2 record.
According to AIA’s mission statement, the team’s goal is to, “share the message of Jesus Christ using the influence of basketball.” The organization, which has been functioning for over 25 years, promotes international trips with players from all around the world.
Former Cane Durand Scott also competed in the two games in Montego Bay, continuing his playing time with the Jamaican National Team, and facing Akpejiori in the friendlies. Scott, who recently played with Jamaica against Canada, is preparing for the Americas Tournament with the team.