July 17, 2019

With Bellofatto Leading the Way in Backcourt, Apex Sport Looking Strong in Summer Hoops

REACHING AN APEX: Chris Bellofatto of Apex Sport, left, guards a foe in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Bellofatto scored 19 points to help Apex defeat Olives 76-28 and post its fifth straight victory. On Monday, Apex fell 63-52 to defending champion Loyaltees to see its winning streak snapped as it moved to 5-2. In other action on Monday, NJ Spiritwear defeated Hometown Moving and Storage 69-46 while Sakana edged RRBB 66-64. The league wraps up regular season play on July 17 with the playoffs starting on July 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Bellofatto wasn’t fazed even though his Apex Sport team fell to NJ Spiritwear on opening night this season in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

Knowing that Apex has plenty of talent, Bellofatto sensed that it wouldn’t take long for the squad to get in synch in the wake of the 58-45 loss to Spiritwear.

“We all don’t play together any time but the summer,” said Bellofatto, a 5’10 guard who starred at North Hunterdon High and went on to play at Stevens Institute of Technology. “A lot of us play off of Matt [Mancuso] and we are all starting to get used to him too.”

Last Wednesday, Apex played very well as it routed Olives 76-28 to post its fifth straight win since the setback in the opener.

“We were able to work on some shooting,” said Bellofatto, reflecting on game which saw Apex build a 32-8 lead by halftime and cruise from there.

“We had three big guys here so we were forced to experiment with that lineup.”

Bellofatto came up big from the perimeter against Olives, hitting several three-pointers on the evening.

“I shot better than I have in the past couple of games,” said Bellofatto. He ended up with 19 points in the win with Mancuso tallying 21 points to lead the way for Apex. “Russ [Thompson] didn’t shoot well today but he has been hot all season.”

The Stevens connection has helped Apex emerge as one of the better teams in the summer league.

“Kenny [Gan], Russ, Sheldon [Jones], and I all played at Stevens,” said Bellofatto, who was ranked third in the summer league in three-pointers with 13 through six games. “It is college guys getting back together.”

In Bellofatto’s view, Apex can out it together as it looks to make a deep playoff run with postseason play starting on July 22.

“Of all the years that we have played, I feel like this is the best chance for us to win,” said Bellofatto, whose team fell 63-52 to defending champion Loyaltees last Monday to see its winning streak snapped as it moved to 5-2.

“It is just pound it inside, get open threes, and having everybody here. We plan on having everybody from here on out.”