Patrick Pemberton Crashed Boards
Jump Ball No. 48 (Part I) By Arlington James
Persons here who were involved in local basketball either as a player, an official, administrator, fan or even a media technician from the mid-1960s through to the late 1990s would at some point have interacted with Patrick Pemberton who is more affectionately known as 'Pembo'.
Two of Pembo's siblings were also into sports. Carnet was a netball player of distinction in the 1970s while Urban was a well-known footballer; both are 6-footers. These three sports personalities have roots in Grand Bay – Dominica's second basketball centre to develop, as their Mum hails from that community.
Pembo himself stands at 6ft 5in and directed his sporting energies into basketball from an early age. He got introduced into the sport while attending the St. Mary's Academy which is dubbed the 'birthplace of basketball in Dominica'. At school he played with St. Francis House which, he claims, "dominated the House basketball competitions back in those days."
Pembo's Teams in National League: Pemberton is one of Dominica's basketball pioneers, having played in the island's inaugural basketball league in 1966. He debuted with Citylites where he played with Severin Loblack, "Athie" Martin, Clem Severin, Herbert Thomas and others, contributing significantly to the team capturing Dominica's very first Basketball League Championship. He played in the Forward position.
Citylites went out after only two seasons but Pembo played both years with them where he was a regular top- or high-scorer. But more importantly, in 1967 Pemberton gained selection to Dominica's first Island Team together with Errol Blackman, George Daniel, Bradley Hector, Wilmoth LeBlanc, Jim Murray (Peace Corps Volunteer), Bernard Thomas, Herbert Thomas, Eric Virgo and McFord Zamore. He top-scored for Dominica against Guadeloupe, with 14 and 13 points respectively in a mini-tournament played here.
One of the local teams that Pembo top-scored against in 1967 (with 15 Pts) was Argonauts, and that was his next team. In 1968 he joined Gustave Larocque and others on Argonauts which did not fare out too well. However, Patrick continued being a top- or high-scorer, and after Argonauts lost to Dominica Grammar School 34-43 for DGS's first victory in the national league, that was the first of two defeats that Pembo would suffer at the hands of that schoolboy team; the second came five years later.
Pembo also represented Sisserou Land in 1968 and once again was a high scorer for Dominica, with 12 Pts versus Ambassadors and a similar score against 7-Up Giants. Dominica had engaged those Barbadian teams in an international tournament in Barbados.
Now, it must be noted that although Pembo was described in the press as "lanky" and was well known for his "fine shooting", he was also described as being "of great physical height and good sense" and contributed significantly to another very important aspect of his teams' game –Rebounding.
With a sparkle in his eye, he noted while being interviewed that defensive rebounding is very important to a team. And that, had the League organisers been keeping statistics during his days on the court, there would not have been sufficient space on the stats sheet to record his defensive and offensive rebounds. A bit of an exaggeration, but presented for emphasis, of course.
Following Argonauts' short stint on the court Pembo then moved to Roseau Concords and was a member of that team in 1972, occasionally high-scoring.
Pemberton then joined the legendary Cardinals from 1973 and remained with the "Cards" well into the 1980s, assisting them capture several more League, Knock-Out and Play-Off championships. However, among the glitter of the trophies that his new team had won he distinctly remembers that night in 1973 when the mighty Cardinals were temporarily brought down from their perch by Dominica Grammar School, 68-61.
That defeat remained the 'talk of the town' for several weeks, if not months. Morchrsiton - a trio of sports reporters – wrote, "Caroni's first defeat in six years of the league was the more galling in that [it] came from a D.G.S. team that no one would look at twice (Ali vs Norton) because of their unflattering record." (The Star Dominica, 18th May 1973).
Actually that victory for DGS equated to Caroni Cardinals' second defeat in their six basketball seasons to that time, the first having come in 1969 from the hands of Atoms with a score of 39-50.
During his stay on Cardinals Pembo represented Dominica in the CARICOM Basketball Championships in Guyana (1981) and in Barbados. He also "toured" with Cardinals to Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and St. Lucia.
While with Cardinals Pembo played with Derrick Birmingham, Caesar Emanuel, Clem Jno. Baptiste, Mickey Joseph, Trevor Knight, Fletcher LeBlanc, Wilmoth LeBlanc, Irving McIntyre, Carl Peters, Charles Roberts, Peter Skerrit, Rochester Warrington, Cuthbert Williams, Irving Williams, Sherwyn Williams and others. Concludes next edition