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SPORT: Customs end Heat’s magical record, crowned Mark D Ball kings

SPORT: Customs end Heat’s magical record, crowned Mark D Ball kings

Publish date: 2022-06-21 00:55:01 | Author: Tana Aiyejina | Source: punchng.com

Mo Heat on Sunday surrendered their unbeaten run and the  2022 Mark D Ball Men’s Basketball Tournament title, after they were beaten 61-55 in the event’s final by Nigeria Customs, who got their deserved pound of flesh back at the indoor sports hall of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Mo Heat were unbeaten in 20 games since the competition began in February, and having beaten Customs in the buildup to the final, were favourites to nick the title.

But they lost the game that mattered most right in front of their owner Mohammed Shehu, who was among the dignitaries that graced the glamorous final of the competition.

The explosive encounter saw both sides tied 15-15 and 47-47 in the first and third quarters, with Mo Heat claiming the second quarter, but Customs started the last quarter with more zeal and purpose, and eventually held off a late challenge by their opponents to win the final by six points in the final quarter.

With the win, Customs achieved the double in the competition, emulating their ladies, who also won the women’s tournament last year.

D’Tigers star Ibe Agu, who captained Customs, contributed 17 points, two fewer than teammate Michael Daramola, whose 19 points was matched by Mo Heat’s top scorer, Bright Akhuetie, while Owen Michael managed 13 points for Mo Heat, who literarily lost their way in the last quarter.

In the third-place tie, Kanyinsola Odufuwa top scored with 25 points, while Wisedom Anyaoha had 17 dunks as Gombe Bulls again beat Kano Pillars (67-62) again to claim the bronze medal.

The Bulls had also prevailed 63-57 against the Sai Masu Gida, when both sides met earlier in the Final 8 and their undoing was over-reliance on veteran captain, Abubakar Usman, whose 14 points and two assists, fell short of unsettling the Bulls, who triumphed despite not having their head coach on the bench.

Winners Customs runners-up Mo Heat and third-place Bulls got N2m, N1.5m and N1m respectively.

One of the guests at the event, Senator Dino Melaye, who described the championships as “top notch and the best basketball competition, in Sub-Saharan Africa”, donated N300,000 to the winners and N200,000 to the beaten finalists.

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