By Emmanuel Afonne
Defending champions `Blame it on Experience’ on Friday kept hope alive towards retaining their title at the ongoing 2017 Mark d’Ball basketball competition in Otukpo, Benue.
The team which featured the likes of former NBA star Ejike Ugboaja and Mark d’Ball manager Igoche Mark, overpowered the Otukpo Blazers 39-34 to keep a clean sheet at the competition.
Both teams gave account of themselves as the game was dragged into extra time after the fourth quarter ended 32-32.
Blame it on Experience players sat on the edge from start to finish as Blazers shooting guard Friday Haruna, tormented them till the end of the game.
Team Experience however, came from behind to equalise in the fourth quarter, to drag the game into extra time.
Blazers missed last minutes opportunity to win the encounter after Ujor Amyebe missed his free throws which gave the star-studded Blame it on Experience team the opportunity to carry the day.
The Blazers team gave good account of themselves in spite losing 7-3, 17-14, 21-23 in the first, second and third quarters.
Former NBA star Ejike Ugboaja gave his best for team Experience with five rebounds to his credit.
Efforts by Amyebe and Haruna to save the Blazers yielded no result despite their superlative performance in the match.
Captain of Blame it on Experience Igoche Mark told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the encounter was the most difficult match he had played in recent time.
“You can see that our experience counted at last but the Blazers team was a tough nut to crack,” he said.
Coach of Blazers Adama Ikwue, hailed the performance of his boys but regretted the loss.
He said: “We are here to win but if things did not go our way, so be it; in life, you win some and lose some.
Team Experience had earlier defeated Apo Settlers from Abuja 32-33.
The 2017 Mark d’Ball basketball competition which began on Dec. 26 with 10 male and six female teams will end on Dec. 31.