University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) win in the just ended Zone C qualifier of the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball Championship was nothing short of impressive. UNER’s assault on the zonal title was crucial to the fortunes of the institution’s basketball team as hosts and not forgetting a disappointing sixth place showing in the Ghana Universities Sports Association (GUSA) Games in February.
Playing in the UPAC Championship for the first time, UNER made a great impression on all who witnessed them play at its impressive hostel-“land “locked basketball court which created a wonderful ambience for the games. Unlike its’ contemporary Sunyani Polytechnic who have been a part of the Championship since its inception in 2011, UNER never seemed fazed by the daunting task ahead.
With Sunyani Polytechnic, Sunyani Nurses Training College and Catholic University College joining the host to compete for the latter days spoils of the Rexoana headlined event. The chance to join University of Development Studies (UDS) in the quarter finals, set to take place on April 14 at the University of Ghana, got underway at 9:00 GMT.
Long story short Sunyani Polytechnic disappointed heavily after getting just a win- over Sunyani Nurses Training College- in three games, Sunyani Nurses were made an appearance just for the goodies-Fan Yogo , CAL Bank and MTN are involved in the Championship- and Catholic University College (CUC) never got tested in the opening rounds of the competition. CUC’s game against Sunyani Nurses was forfeited due to the latter’s failure to show up in time and a mentally deflated and physically tired Sunyani Polytechnic barely challenged CUC.
So CUC rolled into the final game of the day with maximum points and just a win from making a last eight appearance. Fast forward, UNER absolutely obliterates CUC 49-24 to win the zonal Championship punctuated by starting Point Guard Fiifi Brew’s wizardry. After prizes were handed, confetti fell and the feeling of conquerors settling in, post game interviews had one word running through, defense. Tournament Most Valuable Player Fiifi Brew, Center Ben Quarshie and Coach Andy Quansah mention the word. “One on one defense helped us”, “we played a good defense” Brew and Quarshie said.
Defense was the key ingredient in UNER’s win and unbeaten run in the mini championship games. It was the reason the team scored a major chunk of its points against Sunyani Nurses’ Training College-UENR won 36-14 and it was the same top defense that stifled CUC’ offensive stud Ken Akpodolla from asserting himself in the game. For the record, Catholic University College was scoreless in the second quarter of the game.
UNER scored 13 points in the quarter with no pints conceded. That forced CUC coach Michael Sumaila to change tactic during recess and prioritize three point shooting in the second half; unfortunately to no avail. Hard and relentless running is a trait of this team and as Coach Quansah rightly pointed out, stamina was a major reason for the triumph.
In Brew and Quarshie, UENR has the killer inside-outside presence on offense and the hardnosed defensive traits to cause major havoc in the latter stages.
The UPAC Championship is headlined by Rexona with support from MTN, FanYogo and CAL Bank in partnership with Basketballghana.com, TV3, Y FM and Ghana Sports Newspaper.