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Champagne basketball on the rocks as HOOPS and CEPS takes centre stage on Friday

Basketballghana.com editor Patrick Kwame Akoto says the GBBL showdown between nine time champions CEPS and HOOPS on Friday will underline the proclivity for an enthralling league.

Pundits are struggling with words to describe the top of the bill clash between arguably the country’s finest teams as 9-time champions Customs Excise and Preventive Service tackle Hoops in the all-important meeting at the Prison Court on Friday afternoon.

Both teams have being impregnable in the 8-week fixture of the Greater Accra basketball league where they are yet to lose grounds.

The big-talk started right after the fourth round where it was obvious that the two teams will be the ones to beat this season.

Adrenalin will pump high and the depth of proficiency and quick-feet will come in handy when hundreds throng the venue to catch a glimpse of the biggest match of the season.

The Cape Coast based side is now tagged as the nemesis of the game in the West African Country and for young coach Claudius Thompson, it is getting late into the evening and he is locked up in the locker room and taken one last gulp from the longneck in his hand before tomorrow’s cliff hanger.

He’s smiling and nodding, admitting the obvious. Yes, is going to be the grittiest, the toughest, he had ever seen in his years.

They had won their previous game with defense and rebounding, out-Spurring their opponents with dazzling ease but think they will have their mouth full against the champions who are tipped to win their 10th consecutive title.

Hoops have so far accounted for Police, whipping boys Turbo Jet, Holy Family, scrapped and pushed and stood tall under the pressure to pip Warriors 90-91 in week- 5. Reformers, Panthers and Lions have followed in the trail of defeats and now have only the defending champions standing in their way.

CEPS remain the huge contenders for the title after a remarkable nine-year run in the league – underlying their dominance in the nation’s capital with nine successive titles and in the process making the league mind-numbing or monotonous.

They have written off Yotive, Tema Youth, Reformers, Police and Panthers in a one sided games and the likes of Lions, basement boys and Turbo Jet have also suffered from the swiftness and mind blowing onslaught of the champions.

They certainly look good for the title and as I write this piece I am yet to clutch how it will end. The game has totally overshadowed the second game between Turbo Jet and Holy Family as if it won’t take place.
Surely this game is fit for the gods.

Pride

For the players who will storm the court tomorrow, one critical thing will run through their minds – and that is to carve their names in the history books that will almost be implausible to erase for years to come.

They know the stakes are high and there will be enormous pressure to deliver gold on Friday. And that is where the team with the aptitude and character will reign supreme.

What makes the game even more closely linked is the fact that both teams have not lost their guard and they have always zeroed in on 100% concentration.

What makes it more appetizing again is the ability of both teams to counter attack on the fast break, with great defensive network and amazing blocks which has electrified crazy basketball fans who thronged the venue on weekly basis to catch a glimpse of an exciting and nerve racking season.

Technical brains

For the highly unpretentious coach Claudius Thompson, recording a remarkable win over his senior counterpart- coach Braimah Lawah will push his status in the game high and possibly rise from greatness to a legend.

He has vowed to bring champagne basketball to the country’s rich cultural heritage region but will need a lot of thrive and drive to make that schema a reality.

He has masterminded the success story of the Central Regional based side this term and his technical acumen will be put to the litmus test.

He has inspired confidence in the team and his dressing room pep-talk has played the cardinal points for the team’s success so far in the league.

Thompson has managed to mould a formidable side even after the departure of star player Samuel Ouedraogo, who is currently on scholarship at the Technical Careers Institute in New York.

For the benefit of those who did not know his exploits, he was one of the key men for hoops and his array of impressive displays notched him the deal. He currently plays at the D1 level of the NJCAA.

He is one young coach who is fast learning the rudiment of the game and honestly should be encouraged to take up international courses to enhance his technical know-how and touch.

He comes up against the match experienced coach Lawal Peregiono-Braimah who has seen it all as far the game in the country is concerned.

He has to his name a plenitude of accolades and he is regarded as one of the country’s finest brains.
On paper, his years of experience should not be a bother to him and the consistency of his side should give him some time to cool of the hype that has characterized the game.

After all this is not the first time he has triumph over his younger opposite number. He did justice last year and so should be business as usual, right?

But clearly that will not be thinking of former coach of Ridge community this time around. He has being in this business so long a time to realize that complacency can kill the ‘cat’.

He has fallen prey before and so would guard against such traits that might jumbo jet in the dressing room.
The chicks have fallen in place and the tone has being set for the biggest game of the season and I guess four rounds of quarters will give two results.

Either there will be dominance or enactment of revenge. Whatever and however it pants out, one thing is for certain though and that is the game will be awe-inspiring and hard-hitting – for lack of words to describe it.

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