Cougars last Sunday retained the Central Zone Basketball League (Cezobal) championship after seeing off Mimbulu in a best-of-three-series final contest played over three days at Civo Basketball Court in Lilongwe.
The event was sponsored by Lilongwe-based G.Y Imports and Exports Limited—dealers in stationery, ICT equipment, furniture and building materials, who pumped in K1.2 million ($2 007) for the three Cezobal leagues of Men Seniors, Women and League B.
Cougars faced Mimbulu in the finals for the Men Senior League after beating ABC Lions and Central Knights respectively in the championship play-offs played over a two-week period.
Mimbulu won the first tie 58-40.
When everybody expected the experienced Mimbulu to finish off the contest during the second game played on Saturday night, Cougars staged a dramatic comeback to win by 59-51 baskets and take the final to the wire. And in the third tie, Cougars beat Mimbulu 64-51.
Cougars captain TakondwaMengezi attributed the victory to mental strength and hard work on the part of his side, saying: “We lost the first game, but we had self-belief that we could win the second and last games.”
His counterpart Edgar Ng’ongola attributed the loss to change of tactics by his side during the second game.
For winning the championship, Cougars received a trophy, gold medals and K400 000 ($669) from G.Y Imports and Exports. League B Champions Dream Team and Women champions Angels were presented with trophies, gold medals and K200 000 ($334) each.
The sponsors also awarded Mimbulu’s power forward Mada Montana and Angels’ point guard Rose Mkanda with K50 000 ($84) cheques each for emerging the Most Valuable Players (MVP) in their respective categories.
G.Y Imports and Exports managing director Griffin Kalua congratulated the Cezoball committee on organising the championship in a professional manner, saying his firm was prepared to sponsor all the three Basmall zones, depending on the responses from Basmall and the zones.