SASOLBURG. – After months of preparation and three days of intense competition the Ekurhuleni Cobras and Alex Cavs walked off with the spoils at the third annual Sasol NWU Vaal u/19 Basketball Tournament.
This year’s rendition of the tournament saw New Vaal Colliery Community Development, Sasol and the Metsimaholo Rejuvenation Trust coming together to host the event in conjunction with the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal).
The Harry Gwala Multipurpose Sports Complex in Zamdela played host to 20 teams who brought their A-game.
According to Frans Matloga, director of the tournament, he is over the moon about the 2016 tournament.
“The talent is unbelievable and I am ecstatic about the continued and growing interest in the tournament. We are happy to announce that next year a Sasol invitational squad will be selected that will tour overseas. There is so much talent present at the tournament and we want to reward these players,” Matloga said Sunday during the prize giving ceremony.
Despite fiery rivalry on court, the 20 boys and girls teams displayed impeccable sportsmanship on and off the court.
During the pool phases some of the games were one-sided but the strength- against-strength matches really produced basketball from the top shelf.
NWU Vaal made its presence known with its boys and girls teams making it through to the semi-finals. The girls in green played their hearts out but were knocked out by the Alex Cavs with 36-30 and they went on to win the tournament.
In the other semi-final for girls, the Gauteng Spartans blasted past Limpopo with a 49-15 victory to book their place in the final.
The final was a humdinger of a match. The Cavs took control of the match from the word ‘go’ and established a comfortable seven-point lead in the first two periods.
The third period marked a comeback from the Spartans and the lead changed hands several times.
The Cavs showed big match temperament and fought back with a final surge to win the final by 55-49. Team captain, Pretty Murali was instrumental in her team’s victory and her efforts were rewarded with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.
In the boy’s semi-finals, the teams turned up the heat. The Steelers managed to edge past Africawide Trailblazers to win by 41-36 in a thrilling semi-final. The match produced some of the best basketball of the tournament.
In the other semi-final, The Ekurhuleni Cobras defeated a determined NWU Vaal team by 42-35.
In the final, the Cobras’ venom proved too much for the Steelers as they marched to a 91-70 victory. The lanky Cobras players defended the hoop like a pack of wild dogs, picking up any leftovers.
Even though the Steelers showcased masterful handling skills, the Cobras put the pedal to metal from start to finish.
With places up for grabs in the Sasol Invitational team, next year’s tournament will attract a lot of attention.
Nkosinathi Sibanyoni of the Cobras was deservingly named as the boys’ MVP.