23 December 2014

ZIMBABWE : JBC, Lakers Win Garura Unity Day Cup

HARARE-based JBC and Lakers from Bulawayo are this year's winners of the Ronald Garura Unity Day Cup basketball tournament held over the weekend at Prince Edward and Richwood. The tournament launched last year commemorates the Unity Day as well as celebrates the life of the late national team coach and local basketball legend Ronald Garura, who passed away in 2012.
This year's edition saw eight men and eight women's teams fighting for honours with each category having two pools of four teams. JBC emerged winners in the men's category when they beat last year's champions Cameo45 -42 in a closely contested match at Richwood, while Hustlers beat Mutare's Mercenaries in the third and fourth play-offs to claim bronze.
In the women's section, Lakers defeated Green Stars made up mostly of former Girls High School students in another tightly contested tie and Real Returners beat JBC 52-42 to finish third.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe athletes commission president, Shinga Magede said they were impressed with the turnout for the tournament.
"The tournament went well. I think it was well attended, the response was amazing and I think it was fantastic.
"Clubs came through especially under this economic environment.
"In the women's section we even had the defending champions travelling all the way from Bulawayo to come and defend their title and they did so successfully.
"We also had representatives from Mutare, Mercenaries and in honouring a legend, this was fantastic.
"The men's section was won by JBC, who played Cameo in the final. It was a tough match. Apparently it was their first meeting for this season, so in terms of bragging rights JBC have taken the bragging rights.
"They have not yet met in the league for this season, however, Cameo are the reigning national champions while JBC are the provincial league champions and in terms of the bragging rights, it's still game on," said Magede.
Magede said for next year they are hoping to turn the tournament into a big event celebrating not only the life of Garura but also other basketball legends that made a difference in the sport.
"As for the future, we have lobbied as the athletes commission to the BUZ executive to have this tournament played not only for Ronald Garura but also for legends that made a difference in basketball.
"So it will be good if we could also have that because running the Ronald Garura tournament was an initiative of the BUZ athletes' commission. So our lobby to BUZ is now to run a tournament that is inclusive of all legends, past and present," said Magede.
The BUZ athletes' commission president said the third edition of the tournament is guaranteed but they are looking forward to involve families of other basketball legends. Tatenda Mature of JBC, who had 21 points, five rebounds and two assists and Jackie Mupanduki of Lakers were voted the most valuable players in the men and women's categories respectively.
Mupanduki managed 12 points, three rebounds and two assists for her side.
The tournament was also graced by the late Garura's brothers Caleb and Itai.

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