University of Ghana retains UPAC title

BY: Kweku Zurek
UG coach Meme Falconer holds the trophy aloft as his players look on.
UG coach Meme Falconer holds the trophy aloft as his players look on.

The University of Ghana (UG) men's basketball team retained the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball Championship by easing past Marshalls University College 41-23 in a one-sided final on Saturday in Accra.

The rampant UG team lived up to their pre-tournament billing as favourites and had accounted for the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) 45-20 in the semi-finals.

Prior to that, they had also cast aside Blue Crest University (29-20), Ho Technical University (45-16) and UPSA (37-27) to top Zone D in the group stages on Friday at the University of Ghana Basketball Court.

Indeed, so confident were they of victory that they broke away from sporting tradition by arriving on the court for the final dressed in their celebratory t-shirts which were inscribed with "Back to Back", an indication that they were about to win successive UPAC titles.

The UG team cheered on by teeming home fans did not disappoint as they controlled the tie from start to finish with superb performances by final year guard, Joshua Akai and overall tournament MVP point guard Joel Tham.

UG had opened up a seven-point lead by the end of the first quarter and was 19-7 up at the halfway stage and the gulf in points, as well as skill on the court proved too much Marshalls to recover.

The coach of UG, Meme Falconer explained that his side knew they were going to be champions especially after Accra Technical University (ATU) lost in the semi-finals to Marshalls.

"He said, "Well, it's simple because we knew what we were going to do, we looked around the whole competition and nobody is working the way we are and nobody understands the game the way we work.

"We never thought Marshalls were going to be competition, we were looking for Accra Technical University but unfortunately Marshalls ousted them in the semi-finals. Last year, we played Accra Technical University in the finals and we wanted to defeat them again".

The champions who also became joint record winners of the UPAC alongside ATU with two titles each were presented with the glittering UPAC trophy as well as an undisclosed cash prize from Ecobank and basketball equipment from Decathlon.

ATU placed third after beating the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) 42-20 in the third place game.