The Halifax Rainmen are headed to the playoffs after the Premier Basketball League expelled one of its top teams yesterday.

The PBL announced the second-place Puerto Rico Capitanes — considered a top contender with an impressive 14-3 record — are no longer in the league because of a “blatant disregard for league rules,” according to commissioner Tom Doyle.

Doyle said the Capitanes left hotel bills unpaid in Maryland and Quebec City and that they only submitted two potential playoff dates — instead of the six requested. Perhaps most serious, Doyle said the Capitanes threatened to go home instead of travel to Halifax on Sunday, March 21, for a much-anticipated game against the Rainmen, and only made the trip after owner Andre Levingston intervened and chartered a $12,000 flight to get them here.

Doyle said the Capitanes were issued a written warning on Monday, March 22, to pay back the hotels and Levingston, as well as submit more playoff dates, with a deadline to respond of Wednesday, March 24, at noon ET.

“Not a peep,” Doyle said, of what happened when the deadline passed.

Doyle said the owners decided unanimously on Friday, March 26, to expel the Capitanes.

“If you don’t want to be a part of the league, if you don’t want to play by our rules, then I don’t want you in here,” Doyle said.

The departure of the Capitanes leaves the Rochester RazorSharks (14-4) in second behind the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry (16-2), with the Rainmen (11-6) in third, one game ahead of the Vermont Frost Heaves (10-7).

The Rainmen were in a fight with the Frost Heaves for the fourth and final playoff spot before the Capitanes were expelled, but now, both clubs have secured post-season berths.

The Capitanes’ schedule in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional — the top league in Puerto Rico — starts tomorrow, but they were originally scheduled to play in the PBL simultaneously.

A wealth of talent leaves with the Capitanes, including PBL scoring leader and MVP favourite Elias Ayuso.

Doyle said the Capitanes had a contractual obligation to pay for their travel and that the “league will assist Andre in getting that money back.”