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LOP finals – 2008 battle comes to an end

By on October 13, 2008 in League


During the week we got a glimpse of what was in store for us with the amazing poster for the event but on the day there was entertainment galore for the fans; there were dunks, blocks, spin moves and nerves from anxious players. In the ladies section, it was “Raptors vs. Scorpions”; with Scorpions having made huge strides to get this far, this was meant to be a close game and would set the record straight… The Men D2 final was supposed to be a lopsided affair in favour of the much younger “Momentum” team against their more experienced “Tlou MGI”. In the last game of the day, it was another clash between “Wits Alumni” and “Egoli Magic” for the king of the castle Men D1 title. There were trophies for the winners and hampers for the Most Valuable players on offer so the day was going to be interesting.Raptors vs. Scorpions – Ladies final

With the crowd still coming in, it was a subdued start to the day’s proceedings in that department and this had a feel of business as usual for the teams before the jump ball. Raptors had their game faces on from the first whistle and they made their intentions know in the first 5 minutes of the game by scoring 3 unanswered baskets. Looking at the two rosters, Scorpions had the taller team but they didn’t really use that advantage throughout the game much to the disappointment of coach Willie Matlakala. Starting with a 2-3 zone defence against a good shooting team, they were hoping that Raptors would have a day off at the office but alas it wasn’t the case.

From the start, Raptors were playing an up-tempo game with fast breaks and quick passing. When the fast break wasn’t on, they were patient enough to let the ball do the work and wait for openings to appear. With Gabsile Ndlanlamandla (Raptors 5) controlling the point guard position, D. Leepo (Raptors 8) shooting the ball well and the experience of Tuki Modiselle (Raptors 9) showing through, the game was a one sided affair with Raptors building up to 10 point lead by the end of the 1st Quarter.

It was a lacklustre performance from a Scorpions team that promised so much. In the first half, they made too many turnovers especially from their posts T. Chongo (Scorpions 15) and Mamy (Scorpions 9), who always seemed to hand the ball back to the opposition soon after they got it. It might have been lack of big game experience from Scorpions but some of the players looked nervous out there and the posts threw away at least 6 possessions by trying to get the fast break going. They were relying on the stamina of P. Mokoena (Scorpions 12) and experience of Michelle Nobelis (Scorpions 13) to keep them in the game but two players cannot stop an organised unit like the Raptors.

At half time the score was 20-52 in favour of the Raptors and the writing was on the wall already. Scorpions stopped playing defence, started taking wild shots and Raptors made them pay with layups and uncontested shots. Raptors coach Nthato Selebi rotated the bench well which gave their starters some time to recharge the battery throughout the game. After a quiet 1st half from the former SA player, Kornelia Semmelink (Raptors 13) came out intent on rolling back the years and give the crowd some entertainment. She took on the much taller Scorpions post and came out on top on a few occasions with some beautiful spin moves, rebounds and an end product.

Raptors could have won by a bigger margin but towards the end they took their foot off the pedal and started taking a lot of shots from the 3 point line when the easier shot was on. With the outcome of the game already decided in favour of Raptors, both teams gave some of the non starters a chance to play some extended minutes. Final score: Raptors 77 – 39 Scorpions

Tlou MGI vs. Momentum – Men D2 final

Momentum opened the scoring with a 3 pointer from Dalisu Kweyama (Momentum 3) and went on an 8 – 0 run that was stopped by B. Makuala (MGI 12). MGI were being outhustled in the post and were struggling to get any sort of rhythm in their game. If the start was an indication of the rest of the game then the fans thought that Momentum would win this game hands down.

Experience has a funny way of coming through; K. Mwenze (MGI 5) and Naftal Chongo (MGI 14) were able to find impossible baskets to keep the team in the game. There were some dodgy calls from the referees and you always felt like they could be a factor in the game. Despite this, Momentum was ahead throughout the first half through the effort of Thuso Moiloa (Momentum 12) on offensive front and Fumani Marhanele (Momentum 10) who was the star of the game on both ends of the floor.

Going into the half, Momentum had an 8 point lead and looked to stretch the lead after the restart but (MGI 5) was having none of it despite being in foul trouble. MGI had a mini run in the 3rd quarter and got to within 5 points (49 – 44) but this was not maintained. With the quarter drawing to a close, the Momentum guards increased the pace of the game and built the lead back up to 10 points with some good outside shooting and inside penetration from Kabelo mokoka (number 4) and Wes Lofafa (number 1) very effective coming off the bench.

During the 4th quarter it was a succession of errors that led to MGI closing the gap and tying the game. Naftal Chongo (MGI 14) was the catalyst of this comeback for MGI with his drives to the hoop often yielding a foul and a basket. Momentum played into their opponents’ hands by slowing the game down too much thinking it was already in the bag. Instead of going to the hot hand of Fumani (Momentum 10), the guards resorted to shooting from the perimeter and making turnovers at crucial times in the game. Momentum coach Shamanga Ilunga went back to his starting five with a few minutes left but the pendulum had swung in favour of MGI and they couldn’t stem the tide. With 1 minute left, the 10 point lead had dwindled to 0 and the game was tied at 68 – 68 but the drama was far from over.

With nerves the order of the day, both teams used their allotted time outs which increased the suspense. Momentum threw away 2 crucial possessions and MGI made them pay by scoring a basket to lead the game by a bucket with 27 seconds left. With the game on the line, Fumani (Momentum 10) inbounded the ball then got it back and all the fans held their breaths…  With the clock ticking down, he drove hard to the basket, got fouled and made the basket in the process. The game was tied at 70 – 70, the clock read 0.7 seconds and there was still the matter of a free throw to win the game or take it into overtime. Cool as a cucumber, Fumani made the crucial shot to clinch it for a Momentum team that got complacent at the crucial stage of the game. Final score: Tlou MGI 70 – 71 Momentum

Egoli Magic vs. Wits Alumni – Men D1 final

Egoli Magic came into this game with a full roster and a huge support cast while Wits Alumni had to contend with a few players missing so they were underdogs by default. But the game is not played on paper and the 10 players on the court had to perform to decide the outcome.

The game kicked off with both teams making unnecessary turnovers but the slow pace favoured the much thinner bench of Wits Alumni. With some in the crowd predicting an easy victory for the Egoli Magic, Wits played a smart game and imposed their game on their opponents early. The 1st quarter ended with Wits Alumni in the lead by 5 points (24 – 19) with Thabo Letsebe (Alumni 15) and KP Ndlovu (Alumni 9) giving Egoli plenty to think about while Lesego Molebatsi (Egoli 24) looked like he was the only one up for it for the opposition.

With KP (Alumni 9) and Thabo (Alumni 15) pulling the strings on offense, Tsakane Ngobeni (Alumni 14) was doing the little things that go unnoticed in a game of this magnitude. He was boxing out and grabbing the rebounds against a strong front court of Egoli Magic. With the game being a close affair throughout, any sort of run by any team meant that there would be numerous lead changes. With 3 minutes left, Egoli were up on the back of a 3 pointer from Lesego (Egoli 24) but it didn’t last long as M. Renunu (Alumni 5) answered back to tie the game before half time. Half time score 43 – 43.

The second half started with a monster put back from Lesego to give Egoli Magic a 2 point lead and as the game progress he seemed to be the only one carrying the team with Joseph Mazibuko (Egoli 4) having a off day. The crowd was finally getting something to shout about and the game was heating up. Mboshi (Alumni 5) eluded Dos Santos with some AND1 moves and finished it off with a huge 3 pointer that had the crowd on its feet; this was followed by a circus shot by Thabo (Alumni 15) that went in after he got fouled. Wits Alumni had the momentum while Egoli looked a bit desperate with their point guard taking some bad decisions at crucial times. Wits Alumni capitalised on every mistake and built up a lead.

With the game drawing to a close, Egoli threw in a lot of guards to pressure the ball and try catch up the score by shooting 3 pointers. With a few seconds left, this strategy almost worked as they got within 3 points on the back of 2 successive 3 pointers but that was it as their luck ran out and Wits Alumni made them pay from the charity stripe to finish the game with a 9 point lead. If there was to be a man of the match it would have to go to M. Renunu (Alumni 5) and KP Ndlovu (Alumni 9) who rose to the challenge to lead Wits Alumni to victory. Final score: Egoli Magic 80 – 89 Wits Alumni

LOP Most Valuable Players 2008:

F. Marhanele (Momentum) – Men D2 section

T. Modiselle (Raptors) – Ladies section

M. Renunu (Wits Alumni) – Men D1 section

Winning Coaches for 2008

In picture: Shamanga Ilunga (Momentum), Nthato Selebi (Raptors), Lebo Maepa (Wits Alumni)

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There Are 30 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Phumlani Chauke says:

    You cannot use NBA system to determine the MVP,if you don’t even have a website and the official the see the all this things are in place,Firstly we don’t even have shooting clock times in the score board>It even makes the game boring,bcoz it is so slow,it like you are watching slow moving games.teams capitilised on those things,

    It plays an important role in the game.why can their fro volunteer to come and foresee the games,

    The referee standards in this league are so poor,even my unborn baby can see that.The game between MGI and momentum had referees who were buys in the game,it was worse refering i have seen.We need to have classes for this guys

  2. Shane Bamuza says:

    well as 4 whats being said about the mvp i totaly agree with what coach Molupe is saying..Its something that could be argued the whole day but as Neo said up until there is a proper structure put in place than will just have to select the mvp on which player played well in the finals..

  3. Graig says:

    Who do you think the MVP for the leagues where?

  4. Michelle k says:

    Gbl did not even have mvps…

  5. kim says:

    Probably GBL is busy fixing their structures before they can start selecting MVPs.