On a day that saw the burial of the former Greater Accra chairman of the Association, Prince Daniel Vanderpuye Orgle, the Lebanon court was filled to capacity as fans chanted from jump ball till the buzzer went for the end of the fourth quarter sending the Tema based side into spontaneous celebrations that went deep into the night.
Cyril Clarke, the young enterprising student from Nandom Senior High should be singled out for praise for his individual brilliance and immense contribution to the nail-biting and historic victory over CEPS.
The defending champions were coasting to success in the first two quarters where they were in control with a 44-33 lead but a rekindled spirit in the third quarter saw Tema Youth overtake their opponent in a 62-58 lead.
Chief sniper and arguably the best player for the tournament Dodzie of CEPS was 3 of 16 from 3 points-clearly indicating a difficult game for one of the country’s finest players.
Eben made a Thome Cabalan finals record with 5 of 7, with 5 in a row- it is a feat that would require another masterpiece to break next year with Cyril also hitting 9 of 17 from 2 points zone.
What also worked for Tema Youth in Saturday’s finals was the thunderous support received from fans who were chanting for them to break their duck over CEPS in as many matches spanning over 10 years.
For a record ten year running, Custom Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) have dominated the series where they’ve remained unbeaten, calling off the bluff of all teams in the top flight. Indeed they clinched their 10 consecutive titles in the Greater Accra championship last month with a solid display that saw them conquer all opponents.
They’ve looked awesome all season and so had to take Youth more than determination and character to break the impregnability of Coach Braimah Lawah’s side.
So if you’re still wondering or yet to come to terms with the new feat, Tema Youth has become the first team to beat ‘almighty’ CEPS in 10 years- an achievement that coach Emmanuel Quaye, his charges and the fans will salvo for days to come.
Meanwhile the men from CEPS may have missed out in increasing the number of trophies in their cabinet, but should take solace from the fact that their female counterpart clinched the deal in the women’s division after Police failed to turn up for their final game.
Both sides were expected to complete their fourth quarter meeting following the heavy downpour on Friday that disrupted play. They had taken a commanding 43-27 lead over their nemesis going into the final quarter on Saturday and looked almost certain to complete the deal.
Therefore it wasn’t surprising Police pulled the plucks the following day because they knew it would have almost been impossible to overturn the 16 points difference.
So sweet revenge it was for CEPS who lost the series to their rivals on the final day of the championship.
The 2010 edition of the Thome Cabalan Championship will go into the history books as one that produced massive upsets and probably the most exciting in ages.
The memorial tournament was played in honour of the Lebanese who donated his property to promote sports in the country especially basketball.
The team from basketballghana.com congratulates Tema Youth and CEPS ladies for their feat.
More grease to their elbows. We hope and pray they can keep the fire burning and keep bouncing the ball.
By: Patrick Akoto
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