PBA checks in with the talented Nick Leival, who has helped lead Upton 187 cRew into the Champions Division just in time for World Cup. This is what he had to say:
You guys are back in the Champions League, you been bouncing up and down this season. What are your thoughts about 187’s year so far?
It is good to be back in the division that both requires and provides the most growth from any team. I think that we are exactly where we should be, fighting for a spot in the highest division while proving that we don’t belong anywhere else.
You guys are playing Ironmen, Heat, Red Legion, and Dynasty. Quite the bracket… but there are no easy days in the Champs Division. How do you feel you match up against these teams?
I think to play these teams one has to believe that they are amongst these teams. Matching up with them means there will be no easy points and no easy gun battles from anyone on the field. Long story short, we match up well.
Are you looking at any new players for Cup or for next season?
We are not looking at any new players for Cup but we are always looking to add talent to our roster at the beginning and throughout the season.
Last year you made a statement coming into league, yeah, you guys didn’t win many games but the talent was there and you played an exciting, aggressive style of paintball; you have some great players on 187. How do you feel about your play personally in 2013 and the other guys on the squad?
My play personally did not start off the way I know I can play. What I didn’t take into account was how the pressure to succeed in this division consistently would be a factor. My play this season has been less explosive and reliable as I would like to be and I think that this came from a mentality in myself I needed to overcome. 2013 has been a great growing season for the rest of the team. I have seen leaps and bounds with the paintball intelligence of the other players on 187 and I think that this will be the strongest group of paintball players we have ever fielded. I am really looking forward to having a team where kills can come from any part of the field and there are no players producing obviously more than others.
Are you still handling the on field play calling?
Yes and no. I have been doing my best to place more responsibility into the hands of our coach, Noel Tran. He knows the team and paintball well. He is someone I truly trust to take my vision of how 187 can win and apply his structure to allow me to focus more on my play than the whole team’s play. Granted there are times when my drive influences me take the reigns, I have been trying to allow a coach do what a coach does: maneuver a team to victory.
Who do you really enjoy playing? Who do you consider your rivals?
I really enjoy playing any teams at the top. I like a challenge and love being an underdog. I don’t think we have any rivals. I find it a waste of energy and emotion to worry about anything else other bettering myself. Rivalries usually involve spending time on putting others down.
Any bad blood between you and any teams in the league?
If there is I don’t know about it. I know it is more interesting from a fan aspect to watch rivalry games, but no. Any teams that don’t like us don’t really have any reason, and any teams that think we don’t like them would be thinking to highly of themselves. I honestly don’t want any team besides 187 winning, so if it makes things more interesting I hate everyone equally.
What are 187’s plans for the future? And what should fans expect to see from 187 at World Cup?
For our fans: please keep the faith. The reason we have switched up our playing style and have also been less productive on the podium, it is because we are learning. We are learning different play styles, new tricks, politics and mentalities. We have a very realistic view on where our team came from, our budget, our skill level, and more importantly our potential. The only thing I can promise is that every event you will see a better 187 cRew, a team that is visibly evolving faster than any other team in the world. None of us are known for anything else except for the hard work and sacrifice we have put into this sport. For the future, we plan on continuing to apply this hard work. At World Cup you can expect a better 187 than you have seen yet.
Mark your calendars for the biggest tournament in the world, the 2013 PSP World Cup, which takes place at the Fantasy of Flight, in Orlando, Florida. The best teams in the world will be fighting across multiple divisions of competition to determine who’s the best. Paintball Access will be bringing all the action live, October 18th-20th. Don’t miss it!
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