Enjoying the after-glow of an off-season from the Dutch Basketball League, Bekkering was able to help his GasTerra Flames to a thrilling seventh-game victory over SPM Shoeters Bosch in the championship final. Bekkering now has three Dutch league titles under his belt, his two previous coming with Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden. On top of the league championship, the Flames were also able to win the NBB Cup over former team Leiden 79-71.
“It’s sort of like an elimination March-Madness-type tournament that goes throughout the year separate from the league involving the second division too,” said Bekkering in describing the NBB Cup.
The back-to-back titles came in very different fashion with Leiden sweeping its opposition in the 2012-2013 season championship with this past season being a nail-biting series that went the distance.
“Each team was winning their respective home games, and in Game 6 we got lost by 12, so we got beat pretty good on the road,” said Bekkering. “In Game 7 it was pretty close, I think we were up by three at half. But then in the third quarter we had a really big run and pushed the lead to like 20. The opposing team fought back and kind of made a run to make it close.”
How both teams were built had their interesting contrasts as well with how they arrived at their titles.
“We had a real good selection of players this year. I came over from Leiden with a teammate being a couple of bigger guys with size. We had a good selection of players this year. We were a good mix of players with a couple of guys 29, 30 years old with experience in Europe,” said Bekkering. “We had a rookie point guard (Cashmere Wright) which can be a bit of a risk, but he played very well coming from Cincinnati.”
Bekkering manned the centre position mainly this season for the Flames with some power forward sprinkled in as minutes were rationed more than when he was with Leiden where he noted he took twice as many shots.
“We had probably the most athletic team in the league that was very aggressive. We were a deeper, more athletic team which was our style. Having that deep team helped where we could spread around the minutes a little more,” said Bekkering. “We had a very unselfish team where one of our strengths was moving the ball around. Each guy had a defined role. Different nights, different guys stepped up. It made it difficult for other teams to strategize against us.”
Having signed a one-year contract with the Flames, Bekkering is a free agent where he will spend the offseason negotiating where Bekkering confirmed he wants to play in the league for another season.
Having played in the Dutch Basketball League for four seasons, it is a region that is increasingly feeling like home.
“Living in the Netherlands, I feel I’m very fortunate. It’s a very easy place to live in and hearing form imports that have played in other countries, the standard of living in the Netherlands is very high,” said Bekkering.
“It’s a really comfortable country to live in which makes it an easier transition. I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky in making some really good memories, playing professional basketball is a huge blessing.”
Bekkering is a three-time all star in the Dutch Basketball League and was named to the DBL All-Defense Team this past season.
Bekkering is training in Calgary in the offseason where his wife Carli is in med school, having finished her first year at U of C.