In searing temperatures, that peaked at 40 degrees Celsius, an elite combination of top tertiary institutions from the northern regions of Ghana, thrilled fans who flocked to Tamale Polytechnic’s basketball court to catch a glimpse of the 2016 Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball Championship.
Games between Wa Polytechnic, Tamale Polytechnic and University of Development Studies (UDS-Tamale) gave fans a taste of how basketball ought to be played with silky ball handling skills and top notch defending ensured the games made good on the massive hype it created in Tamale prior to tipoff.
UDS made light work of its’ second round opponent Wa Polytechnic by beating the Wa-based side 31-21 as the favourites got off to a flying start. UDS original first round opponents NJA College of Education, also from Wa, withdrew from the competition citing internal challenges.
UDS made life tough for Wa Polytechnic’s hard driving Point guard Kanton Samad by stifling him on the perimeter to prevent from getting into the painted area where he flourished in his side’s winning effort over host Tamale Polytechnic. With its’ best player played out of the game, Wa Polytechnic struggled to score as the former’s penetrating runs created spaces for wide open shots.
Led by Tournament Most Valuable Player Abdou Fatau, UDS sealed qualification to the quarter final by defeating Tamale Polytechnic 24-20 in the final game of the day. Wa Polytechnic had earlier beaten Tamale 24-20 which meant Tamale Polytechnic exited the competition without a solitary victory to its’ credit.
Despite the massive support from the partisan crowd, the lads from Tamale Polytechnic got “tensed” per head coach Braham Muhaga and made costly errors particularly in the final game against UDS. The host institution tied the score in the first quarter (6-6) and in the early minutes of the second quarter (11-11) but turned over possession one too many times to gift UDS easy run ups to the basket.
Fans got the chance to exhibit their basketball skills though mini games, bouncing chair-the basketball version of musical chairs- and free throw shooting contest.
The 2016 UPAC Championship is supported by MTN, CAL Bank and Fanyogo in partnership with Basketballghana.com, TV3, Y FM and Ghana Sports Newspaper.