Stone throwing and shear intimidation at the Legon Athletic Oval’s Central Court has marred an otherwise dramatic final of the 2016 Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball championship.
Champions, they say die hard and that was the spirit replicated by the indefatigable A-Poly Basketball team after they battled their way from behind to come within inches of victory.
In fact, all the two-time UPAC Champions needed was a 30-second holding game to see off the opposition from UG in order to accomplish an unprecedented three straight gold-medal wining feat but that was not to be as those 30-seconds turned into nervy moments that were characterized by throwing of stones and sachet water from the home fans.
At the end of it all, the UG team triumphed by beating Accra Polytechnic 45-44 points to win the 2016 UPAC Championship in front of their home fans.
As is the case for all champions, the games had a number of sub-plots as the game’s physicality ultimately resulted in one of A-Poly’s key players, Farahat Tamimu, fouling out of the game and had to watch the whole of the fourth quarter from the bench.
In his absence, however veteran Guard and 2015 Most Valuable Player for Accra Polytechnic, Abdul Mutaleeb Alhassan had to carry the offensive load of the team and he did so with shear bravado, leading the team to take a two point lead in the game from the free throw line.
Also in the thick of affairs was Center Suleman Abubakar’s incessant hustle plays which ensured Accra Polytechnic stayed in the game when it looked most likely that UG would pull away.
With time running down and silence gripping the home fans at the Centre Court, UG’s Emmanuel Wolff nailed a deep three point shot to give University of Ghana a 45-44 lead with 16 seconds left on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, Accra Polytechnic got called for a questionable offensive foul which gifted University of Ghana the chance to run down the clock and end Accra Polytechnic’s reign in the Championship.
Meanwhile, speaking in an interview after the game, the coach of A-Poly Basketball team, Mr. Braimah Lawal has hinted that he may not allow his team to play under such hostile conditions in the future, especially with the kind of intimidation witnessed from the UG fans.
For their part, Meme Falconer, coach of the UG team was named coach of the tournament whereas Muhaimin Guba was named Most Valuable Player of the 2016 UPAC basketball tournament.