Benue Braves basketball team of Makurdi and `Blame it on Experience’ have zoomed into the final of the 2017 Mark d’Ball basketball tournament in Otukpo Benue, with hard earned victories.
Braves who topped their group in the preliminary round produced a superlative performance to defeat of Zuba Hornets of Suleja, 68-57 to set up a final clash with Experience who defeated APA Flames 66-55.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that `Blame it on Experience’ who have dominated the competition since the inception of Mark d’Ball, are hoping to win their sixth title.
APA Flames players gave a good account of themselves but could not survive the fire-power of team Experience which paraded basketball veterans and ex-internationals.
Captain of Experience Igoche Mark, said they are on their way to winning another title.
“I feel great leading my team to this level. I am the defending champion and I want to win all the time. I don’t see my team losing in the final and I believe we are going to win.
“We are the veteran squad in this tournament and I keep telling my teammates that we should make each game better than the last one,” he said.
Ujoh Anyebe, Coach of APA Flames, blamed his players for their defeat.
“Playing to instruction is key to winning matches of this magnitude; my players didn’t adhere to instructions and the team was punished for that.
“Our plan today was to dethrone Experience; they have dominated this tournament for a long time and we need to have new champions but from all indications, they might win the title again,” Anyebe said.
In the female category, Customs defeated Bayelsa Patriots 39-34 to book their final ticket against Benue Providence who ran away with a 35-32 defeat of FCT Queen.
FCT Queen had led in the first, second and third quarters but lost their guard in the last minutes of the fourth quarter to hand the final ticket to the Benue ladies.
NAN reports that the final matches will be decided in the early hours of Jan. 1. at the competition’s new venue at Akpegede in Otukpo.