Remembering The UPAC Experience

In a rapid response to the ceaseless request from the several Universities, Colleges and Polytechnics to extend the basketball brand, the maiden edition of the UPAC Championship took place in 2011. Three years on and the memory still linger on as it opened the door for the various tertiary institutions to play the game of basketball under one roof. It was a platform to settle once and for all the bragging rights and determined which institution was the best in Ghana after several years of endless debate. The competition which was played in three zones (Central/Western, Greater Accra, Ashanti/Brong Ahafo), attracted blowout contests while the boys were zipped from the men. It was a showdown of the cr�me de cr�me of basketball at the highest level whose outcome still rankles to this day. The University of Education, Winneba, set the tone for a riveting final after defeating Takoradi Polytechnic 56-52 in a nerve racking final to win the Central and Western conference. Inspired by Benjamin Debrah (Skywalker), Frederick Yeboah (Osofo), Derek Brifo, (ill nana), Derek Owusu, Meme Falconer Chief Kakari and player-coach Emmanuel Quaye, the men from Winneba outshined and outclassed their opponent to secure a final berth in Accra. It was a breath-taking final with the action swinging from one end to the other but in the end it was key man and the championship's most talented player, Benjamin Debrah, whose skills and ability saw him make use of rebounds that clinched the sweet victory for UEW. The epic encounter attracted hundreds to the Kwame Nkrumah basketball court at the University of Cape Coast as they marched on to the final in Ghana�s capital, Accra. The next train stopped at Ghana�s second largest city, Kumasi and Kumasi Polytechnic stole the steal from their opponent to emerge champions in the Northern Conference. They defeated Sunyani Polytechnic 48-35 on home soil at Amakom to emerge victors. Cheered on by the vociferous singing group �the Warriors�, the men from Kumasi Polytechnic displayed maturity, dexterity and power play throughout the game to ensure that they recorded a resounding victory over all the visiting teams. Christian Service University picked the third place by beating Garden City University 41-37 in a nail biting encounter. Then came the final zone in the Greater Accra where Accra Polytechnic and the University of Ghana sold out an enthralling contest. It was pure and simple as the visitors thought the University of Ghana bitter basketball lessons by thrashing them 39-19 to win zone 2 of the competition. It was the first meeting between the two sides as coach Brimah Lawah�s troops silenced the host crowd at the main basketball court of the University of Ghana. The GUSA Champions found arguably the championships� best player Emmanuel Dickson too hot to handle as he displayed maturity and power play to help his side clinch the ultimate trophy. Students of Accra-Poly were there in their numbers and with the presence of the very popular cheer leading group, the �Zulu Community�; it was clear from the onset that they were in for the title. Both A-Poly and UG had negotiated their two respective ties at the expense of old foes Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) now University of Professional Studies (UPSA)and the Central University College-that set the two institutions up for a super final game. Legon paraded young and hungry-looking players like McMartey Lawer, Jake Morrison, Uriah Asante Clarke, Kelvin Ankrah Sena Dela and Rafiq Mohammed Arthur amongst others. It was one championship aching for a decisive end with Accra Polytechnic emerging over champions in the finals, seeing off the University of Ghana in an epic and mind-blowing final. Legon marched onto the final but questions still lingered on the manner they claimed their feat after Jake Morrison fouled out UEW star man Meme Falconer. Both teams will be aching to settle the old score when they clash again in the 2014 finals in Accra. Schools are jostling for places in the final eight with the competition expected to attract huge numbers at the University of Ghana. The 2011 edition of the UPAC games was sponsored by giants telecommunication network, Tigo.