Staten Island Vipers



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2014-15 Season Opener is this Saturday

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Staten Island Vipers pro basketball team hoping for better times ahead

spt vipers
Ayanna Phillip, co-owner of the Staten Island Vipers ABA team. (Photo courtesy of the S.I. Vipers)
Stephen Hart | shart@siadvance.comBy Stephen Hart | 
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on July 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM, updated July 23, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Ayanna Phillip and Kyle Brereton must really love basketball.

That, perhaps, is the only reasonable explanation why the business partners and former couple have continued investing their time and money on the Staten Island Vipers.

"It's like a second child for me," laughed the 32-year-old Phillip, a hoops standout for St. Peter's Girls and Seton Hall, who tries to juggle motherhood and a full-time job at AIG in Manhattan with running the fourth-year American Basketball Association franchise.

At her side is co-owner Brereton, 33, a former player at Curtis HS and Time Warner Cable employee, who will be entering his second full season as the team's head coach after originally playing for the team. In fact, the idea to buy the Vipers came about when Brereton was looking for a team to hook up with.

Together, the former teenage sweethearts share 11-year-old daughter Kiana -- along with the trials and tribulations that come with trying to keep a business afloat.

"It's been very, very difficult," admitted Phillip, who with Brereton committed to a $10,000 purchase price for the franchise in 2011, with a $1,000 down payment and the rest being paid off in monthly installments.

That doesn't include paying players, referees, gym rentals and equipment -- all of which are primarily out-of-pocket expenditures for Phillip and Brereton, since revenue is low.

"The gym prices are pretty steep, and gym availability is tough because a lot of teams are looking for space," said Phillip, noting that not having a permanent home court has been a major detriment toward building a consistent fan base.


Over the past three years, the players -- with a shifting roster that's seen a collection of former Island stars including Zaire Taylor, Lawrence Borha and John Baiano, the latter two Jaques Award winners -- have been "pretty understanding. They'll take whatever we can give them," said Phillip, who has even taken to calling agents on behalf of some of her players in order to get them better opportunities.

spt vipersKyle Brereton, co-owner and coach of the Staten Island Vipers ABA team. 

Sponsorship has also been difficult to come by, "and that's probably my fault, but I have no time to contact people," said Phillip, an eight-year employee at AIG, where she works as an executive assistant and graphic designer.

Fortunately, things seem to be turning a corner for the Vipers.

One sponsor -- The Polish Pad, a car detailing business in Port Richmond -- is on board so far for the 2014-15 campaign, which begins with preseason games in October.

The team is also working with Port Richmond High School -- where Brereton's former Curtis coach, Tim Gannon, is the principal -- to play its home games there.


But the biggest news for the Vipers and the ABA (which doesn't share a history with the old league of the same name, just the red-white-and-blue basketball) came earlier this month when the league reached an agreement with ESPN to broadcast 40 games this season plus playoffs and an all-star game online on ESPN3.

While there are still plenty of kinks to sort out, all involved agree that the deal makes the ABA more viable.

"It's very exciting for everybody," said Ron Tilley, the new CEO of the ABA, which has jumped from about 70 franchises to 98 for the upcoming season, according to the league's website. "It's a two-year deal to broadcast about 100 games."

To say the league -- which was founded in 1999, and according to a Slam Magazine article has had over 200 franchises fold -- has been informal would be a bit of an understatement.

Teams set their own schedules, and the length of the regular season can run anywhere from 20 games (the minimum to qualify for the playoffs, Tilley said) to 30 games. Of those 20 minimum games, 16 must be within the division.

"We're hoping with ESPN's involvement that the league becomes more stable and structured," said Tilley, who is in the process of stepping down as owner/coach of the Arizona Scorpions, one of the more successful franchises.

As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Phillip accepted the role of chairperson of the Northeast Division. The division currently includes the Vipers, the New Jersey Express, the Brooklyn Skyrockets, the Bronx Holy Flames, the Philadelphia Spirit, the Syracuse Shockwave, the Baltimore Hawks, the Providence Anchors and the Steel City Yellow Jackets.

Even with the increased workload, Phillip remains optimistic.

"Hopefully, we should be able to secure more sponsors this year because of this deal," she said. "Kiana's already looking forward to taking over when she gets older."

For more information on the Vipers, visit their website ( and Facebook page (Staten Island Vipers). For more information on the league, visit


Staten Island Vipers' hoop league inks deal with ESPN3 to broadcast games

ESPN3 will broadcast some Staten Island Vipers games this season. (Courtesy of Vipers)

The Staten Island Vipers and the professional league they play for got some big news Thursday.

The American Basketball Association announced it has signed an agreement with ESPN to carry 40 games on ESPN3 beginning in November.

"We are very excited to be a part of the ESPN family for our regular season," stated ABA CEO Joe Newman. "The success we had with the Final Eight from Shreveport on ESPN3 was tremendous. And now fans will have an opportunity to see fast-paced, exciting ABA professional basketball every week."
The games will be televised on Saturday nights and Sunday evenings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9. 

The times, schedules and teams will be announced later.

ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually.

It is accessible online at, on smart phones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV and Roku.

The network is currently available to more than 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smart phones and tablets connected to on campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

Vipers owner Ayanna Phillip is excited about the TV/web deal with ESPN.

"The ESPN deal is a great opportunity for the ABA to establish itself more as a professional basketball league, especially in the Northeast Division," said Philip, who was named Division Chairman for the Northeast as well. "With this new break I would hope to have more Staten Island native players want to come out and represent the Vipers. It was my original goal to show the world the talent we have in our small forgotten borough of Staten Island."

Phillip said a handful of Vipers games will be broadcast by ESPN3.

The Vipers are getting ready for their fourth season. They are holding joint tryouts with the Jersey Express Saturday, July 19, at Weequahic High School, located at  279 Chancellor Ave, Newark, N.J. 07112.

The Vipers play their home games at various Island high schools. Th team usually boasts a handful of Staten Islanders, former high school and college standouts looking to extend their careers.



Staten Island Vipers vs. Harlem Rockets
Saturday, March 29th @ 7pm
The Michael J. Petrides School
715 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301


Staten Island Vipers survive tough battle vs. Jersey Express, 118-115

Joe DAmodio / Staten Island Advance
on March 02, 2014 at 1:12 AM, updated March 02, 2014 at 1:24 AM

NEWARK -- The Staten Island Vipers, behind Sequan Gary's 30 points and 13 rebounds, Anthony Green's 22 points and Antoine Obery's 19 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks had enough in the tank to overcome the host Jersey Express, 118-115, in an American Association Basketball encounter on Saturday.

The Express, which had a 66-58 lead at the half, led after each of the first three quarters, but the Vipers, under the leadership of coach Kyle Brereton, outscored the host club 27-20 in the final stanza to pull out the win.

The 2-3 Vipers snapped a three-game losing skein.

Other Vipers who had standout games were Anthony Obery (16 points) and Brendon Lyn (15 points).

Trio Of Ex-Golden Falcons Thriving In ABA

February 19, 2014

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When 2011 Felician College graduate Suquan Gary (Paterson, N.J./PCTI) left the Jersey Express to join the Staten Island Vipers for his second professional season in the American Basketball Association last summer, he knew just where the Vipers could turn for additional talent.

Gary's former Golden Falcon teammates, Antoine Obery (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) and Anthony Green (Jersey City, N.J./Snyder), had just graduated from Felician shortly after completing four-year collegiate careers. Obery was a swingman who earned all-region honors and had become Felician's all-time leading rebounder, while Green was a shooting guard who ranks among the Golden Falcons' career leaders in three-point field goals.

Gary made sure both players knew about an upcoming Vipers tryout. It worked out for both, and all three are now part of Staten Island's 12-man roster that competes in the ABA's Northeast Conference.

"Since I was a kid playing ball in Jersey City, this is what I wanted to do," said Green, who is averaging just over 11 points per game. "Eventually I'd like to get into coaching, but I don't feel like my legs and my shot have given up on me yet. The ABA is all about exposure, and I hope I can convert it into an overseas offer."

The ABA is an offshoot of the original American Basketball Association that merged with the NBA in 1976. The current ABA is the largest professional sports league in the United States, with the Staten Island franchise joining in 2011.

Obery also has "overseas dreams," his term for his hopes of playing professionally in a foreign country. He also has a tryout set up in June with the National Basketball Development League. But for now, he is making the most of his chance with the Vipers. In the season's early stages, he was averaging 27 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 70 percent from the floor.

"I'm starting to understand the ins and outs of pro ball," Obery said. "This is a great opportunity which has kept me relevant and in shape, and it's been fun getting to play with my friends."

The ABA combines NCAA, FIBA, and NBA rules, with the goal of bringing its fans a fast-paced, fan-friendly game. The Vipers play their home games at St. John Villa Academy. They are 1-3 this season, and will host the Philadelphia Knights on March 5.

As for Gary, the man who brought the Felician trio together, he owns his own business in northern New Jersey and is perfectly content using the ABA for his "hoop dreams."

"The Vipers gave me another fresh start," he said. "Playing with my teammates from college has made this an exciting time for me."

Green and Obery become the eighth and ninth former Felician men's basketball players to sign professional contracts. See for the complete list.


Staten Island Vipers succumb to Jersey Express, 101-98

Staten Island Advance Sports DeskBy Staten Island Advance Sports Desk 
on January 18, 2014 at 11:08 PM, updated January 18, 2014 at 11:24 PM

NEWARK -- Antoine Obery netted 30 points, Rashad Callaway scored 18 and Rashawn Wilson 14, but it wasn't enough as the Staten Island Vipers dropped a 101-98 American Basketball Association decision to the Jersey Express on Saturday at Central High School.

The Vipers started the game strong but the Express tied it up at 26 to end the first quarter.

The Vipers trailed 50-46 at the half and the game stayed close as both team traded baskets.

Trailing 73-71 entering the fourth quarter, the Express' lead swelled to 10 midway through the period, but Callaway's three treys kept the Vipers in the game.

The Vipers had a chance to tie the game at the end, but they missed with 5 seconds left and couldn't secure the rebound for a second attempt to force overtime.

Obery added 17 rebounds and five assists.



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