By SAMUEL LUKHANDA –
MATERO Magic defended their Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) Sprite national championship crown yesterday after posting an emphatic 71-56 victory over Green Buffaloes.
With this win, Magic closed out the series on a 3-1 triumph in what was a bruising but highly charged playoffs, where the championship came under intense scrutiny.
Buffaloes, who were playing in the finals for the first time in 10 years, put up a strong challenge but could not match Magic’s pedigree as the Matero outfit subdued the Army sponsored side with relative ease.
Magic were first to the line in game one edging the marauding Buffaloes 60-58 in a really tight game and repeated the win in game two though Buffaloes pushed the champions all the way and saw the game dented by physical play and resulted in a Buffaloes player being ejected.
However, Buffaloes pulled a trick off the bag with a game 92-79 win in overtime.
Despite suffering a setback, Magic summed up the series with a 71-56 win to claim the K4, 500 prize.
Buffaloes coach Joseph Mhango said his charges drew positive lessons from the defeat and will get back stronger in the new season.
In the women’s game, the streaking UNZA Honeys finished off Nishati shells to win their third national title on the trot to underline their dominance in the women’s game in recent times.
Honeys lost the first game of the series 52-62 but responded positively by taking Game-Two 76-67 to level the series before winning the next two games to claim the championship with the series win of 3-1 score.
For their exploits, the national champions pocketed K4,500, a trophy and medals.
Nishanti Denvers won the B league finals Game-Five after beating Magic-B 69-67 to take the series 3-2.
Denvers and Magic were at par 2-2 after the Saturday games but the South B League champions took game five and walked away with the title a trophy and medals.