Savio staged a late onslaught to successfully whip ABC by 61-49 points in a thrilling Dar es Salaam regional basketball league’s ‘battle of titans’ at the National Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
It was a match that brought together the physically and technically gifted sides which produced heart-throbbing performance to keep spectators spellbound throughout inside a packed stadium.
Savio started on a sound note and being the better organised side defensively, they had an upper hand during the early exchanges to command a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter, while their opponents were yet to notch a single point.
Savio’s key players Henry Mwinuka, Mohamed Yusuph, Jije Makani and George Tarimo linked well and punished ABC with every defensive mistake the latter committed.
ABC calmed their nerves in the closing stages of the quarter, deploying an aggressive game to significantly narrow the margin to 15-14 points at the end of the second quarter.
ABC coaching panel had to rest their key players Haleluya Kavalambi and Ibrahim Mwinyi for the better part of the match after the duo failed to cope with Savio’s pace and versatility.
The game turned into a tightly contested affair for the other two quarters as ABC pilled more pressure in front of Savio’s hoop.
ABC’s big men Gilbert Batungi and Godfrey Changwe succeeded to slightly open Savio defence with their powerful bursts, pin-point passes and well executed lay-ups to bring the score to unique level terms of 36-36 points at the end of the third quarter.
Savio’s never-say-die attitude came into play in the final quarter and their quick-fire displays were too much for ABC, who had to opt for desperate defending tactics and, in the process, committed lots of fouls to award their opponents crucial free-throws.
Yusuph finished with 16 points, Mwinuka had 11 points, Tarimo and Ally Mnyamani added 10 and nine points respectively for Savio.
ABC scorers were Batungi with 15 points and Stephen Charles managed 10 points.
Savio’s win has elevated them to the top of the standings table and underlined their supremacy as the most consistent side destined for this year’s podium finish.
ABC have consequently dented their chance to win their first regional league silverware since bouncing back into competitive basketball and they have to win their remaining fixtures to have any hope of edging Savio.
Other matches in the men’s category held earlier at the same venue saw Oilers beat Tanzania Prisons by 57-45 points, Chang’ombe Boys claimed a 73-43 points win over Mgulani JKT, while the only game in the women category witnessed Cargo Ladies hand Don Bosco Lionesses a 66-56 points defeat.