Pacers retain Sprite basketball title
Published On December 30, 2013 » 3744 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Sports, Stories
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• UNZA Pacers players and officials celebrating with their golden trophy and medals after retaining the Sprite National Basketball Championship in Lusaka on Sunday. Pacers beat Napsa Hurricanes in the finals. Picture by JEAN MANDELA

By GRACE CHAILE –

UNZA Pacers on Sunday retained the Sprite National Basketball Championship after beating Napsa Hurricanes 2-1 in the finals played on the best of three.

Pacers, who now have the title for two successive years and for a third time, got a trophy and K2,000. Hurricanes walked away with a trophy and K1,000.

The two sides will also represent Zambia at the Zone Six Club Championship. 

UNZA Honeys who won the female category also got K2,000 with Shells getting K1,000. More accolades followed the champions as forward Dorcas Marondera, an import from Zimbabwean Club Cameo, scooped the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

The male MVP award went to Pacers’ forward Joshua Kupa while Cuthbert Tembo scooped the best coach award.

Pacers were made to fight until the last game to retain the title by a determined Hurricanes side that never gave up despite losing the first game 54-63 to level the score 1-all with a 75-68 win.

The teams were square heading into Sunday evening final that drew a capacity crowd at the National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC). It was Pacers, however, who put up a dominant display to prove why they were defending champions.

Pacers won the first quarter 14-8 before increasing their second quarter lead to 17-39 thanks to shooter Simukwela Lubinda, who placed baskets at will as the Hurricane defence was caught off-guard.

Gosa Hamudulu, Pacers point guard, proved to be a menace to Hurricanes with his passing perfect fast dribbling skills that added another advantage for Pacers as Hurricanes failed to much up.

However, in the last half of the game, the introduction of forward Malama Sakala motivated Hurricanes which saw them up their play but still failed to catch up in the third quarter losing 54-30.

Hurricane forward Francis Sinyinda and point guard Kabamba Lungu showed some improvements late in the game to pile some pressure on their opponents but their performance came a bit too late as Pacers claimed victory.

Coach Tembo described the game as being tough and praised the team for putting up a strong performance to retain the title.

“It was a tense game, but our preparations and

determination paid off. Winning the title for the third time and second in a row is a great achievement for us this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, ZBA vice-president for north, Conrad Musonda thanked Zambian Breweries for partnering with the association in hosting the tournament.

Musonda further said it was a great achievement for the new ZBA executive, who have been in office for just seven months, to finish the league in six months and also manage to host the Zone Six Club Championships in October.

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