07 April 2013

TANZANIA : Vijana Maintain Winning Streak As NBL Rolls Into Semis

VIJANA made it five wins out of five in the National Basketball Championship after defeating Chui 66-48 in their final Group A encounter, with both teams sailing through into the semi-finals of the tournament after finishing in first and second place respectively.
Mwalimu Heri, who scored 24 points against Savio on Thursday night, picked up from where he left off. He scored points 21, with Murshid Mudrikat contributing 14 as Vijana maintained their winning streak at the weeklong championship.
With Thursday's results guaranteeing both teams a place in the last, their clash was now meant to decide which of the two teams would top the group and Vijana grabbed honours with yet another victory and another starring performance.
Vijana topped the group with maximum ten points after recording five wins (including one walkover), with Chui winning the runner-up spot on 8 points, having posted three wins (including one walkover) while conceding two defeats. Gidibo Tindwa got the ball rolling for Vijana, hitting a stunning 3-pointer with just seconds on the clock and Heri put Vijana five points up and went on to register a double digit advantage, 27-13, after the first quarter.
Chui came out for the second quarter with renewed vigour for a battle and charged back with a 18-4 run to tie the game at 31-31 at the interval. Into the third quarter and Vijana soon got their noses in front again in the third quarter at 43-32, a 9-1 run to credit. Vijana were not going to surrender their advantage and had another impressive run, 23-14, to take the score to 66-48 at the final whistle.
Dotto Charles returned 20 points for Chui. Vijana punched their ticket to the last four with a dominant 74-57 win over Savio, knocking the holders out of the tournament in the process. Savio were left to rue the missed opportunity, awarding Bandari Tanga a walkover after arriving late for their opening Group A match.
This is probably where the title was lost. ABC were assured of a place in the semi-finals from Group B following their 71-57 win over Pazi on Thursday. They will be joined in the semis by Pazi who ousted the Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP), call them Mipango Basketball, following a 67-50 triumph in the late kick-off match at the Harbours court yesterday.
Pazi and Mipango Basketball went into their match tied on 7 points. Pazi were two point up, 14- 12, at the first quarter with Crispin Abuto scoring eight points, but Mipango bounced back to open a two point lead at the interval. Pazi raised the benchmark in a relatively high scoring stanza for the Dar es Salaam-based outfit.
They used a 32-24 spurt to open double digits lead and the game was closely fought in the closing quarter, 17-16 in favour of Pazi. Abuto finished the game with 18 points. ABC, with 8 points after winning all their opening four games (including one walkover), were due to play their final group match against already eliminated JKT last night, in a match that would decide who finish top of the group.
According to the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) official Manase Zablon, four female teams have also sneaked through into the semi-finals. They are Jeshi Stars, Vijana Queens, Don Bosco Lioness and JKT, while hosts Tanga Queens, like their male counterparts Tanga Kings, Bandari and Tanga United, have crashed out of the championship.
The semis in both male and female categories will be staged today, followed up by third play-offs and final matches. The eventual champions will represent the country in this year's Zone Five championship set for Bujumbura, Burundi.

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