APA Flames basketball team of Otukpo will slug it out with tournament’s favourite `Blame it on Experience’ in one the semi-finals encounter of the 2017 Mark d’Ball basketball competition in Otukpo, Benue.
The encounter tagged “the titanic battle” by basketball pundits, is seen as “final before the final” as both team are from Otukpo.
Both teams are meeting the second time at this stage in three years, having met in the same stage in 2014, with Flames losing to Experience.
Team Experience booked their semi-final ticket after defeating South East All Stars 40-31 in their last group game, midnight on Friday.
They had earlier defeated Apo Settlers of Abuja, Zuba Hornet of Suleja and Blazers of Otukpo 33-32, 43-35 and 39-34 respectively to finish top of Group A, while Flames finished as Group runners up after a comprehensive 51-21 defeat of Bethlehem in their last group encounter.
APA Flames had earlier defeated UNTL and South East All Stars 43-36 and 49-36 respectively, after losing 19-26 to Benue Braves to finish runners up of Group B.
Group B winners Benue Braves will square up against Group A runners up Zuba Hornets in the second semi-final encounter.
Braves who did not drop a point in the Group stage have been tipped by book-makers to play the defending champions of the tournament `Blame it on Experience’, in the final expected to be played in the early hours of Jan. 1
In the female semi-finals, Customs will lock horn with Bayelsa Patriots, while Providence engage FCT Queens.