The Montreal Alliance has hit the hardwood running in preparation for the launch of their second campaign in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). The launch is set for this Friday evening at the venerable Verdun Auditorium with a 7:30 pm tipoff against the Niagara River Lions.

Following media day last week the Alliance took to the court at the Verdun Auditorium under the watchful eye of new head coach Derrick Alston Sr. and his staff to put together the chemistry and system the squad will take into play. “I want to defend, I want to defend, really defend and get out, get out and push,” Coach Derrick Alston Sr. said. “Pace is a big deal for me. You know, just watching a lot of the games from last year to kind of get an idea what they did. I just want to make sure we speed it up a little bit, which is more exciting for the fans. I want to get out there and compete.”

Following an inaugural season of 4-16 in the win-loss column but tremendous success of the team being supported by the fans, Alliance GM Joel Anthony had a busy off-season of signings to put a stronger squad on the court. Key signings of returning players like Nathan Kayo, Alain Louis and the first Alliance player ever signed Kemy Ossé combined with acquisitions of Blake Francis, Ahmed Hill and Treveon Graham will make for a different look Alliance this season. “I feel really good about what we’ve been able to put together,” GM Joel Anthony said. “We’re actually not even done where we’re still looking to add and acquire more talent. I’m looking forward to this group that we have now that’s going to go out there and start camp; we have a really good group that’s going to have an opportunity to be successful.”

For Francis, Hill and Graham, the attraction of the city was a big hook as was the opportunity to help to build something special for the fans. Francis, who averaged 15.3 points per game with Newfoundland and Hill, a second team all-star and with a17.8 ppg average with Guelph both know how electric it gets in the Aud when the Alliance are playing. As for Graham the 29 year-old comes in as a veteran who had four seasons in the NBA. “I think that that’s one thing I do well is bring leadership to a team,” Treveon Graham said. “From my skill level to my IQ of the game I feel like that I can definitely help in certain areas to make us improve. I think that we’re going to be a real fun team when it comes to speed. We’re going to pick up the pace a little bit this year. We have a lot of great guards and our big men can run so I think our biggest thing is to be able to move the ball and play real fast.”

Ossé is looking forward to playing alongside Graham and feels he will contribute greatly to the Alliance. Having someone like a Treveon Graham, who can come in to help mentor some of the younger players will be great having him in the dressing room,” Kemy Ossé said. “An interesting fact is he’s from DC. So I went to high school in DC, so we’ve known each other. It’s fun to actually have him here in Montreal. I’m excited to play with him.”

A theme among the returning players is the feeling of unfinished business from last season that they let the fans down with their 4-16 record. “I think the fans came out and were so amazing,” Nathan Cayo said. “Last year was such a disappointing season. I know for me, Alain (Louis) and Kemy we have unfinished business so we’re excited to do it right this year and go play for a championship.”

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