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Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League: Air Warriors, MFM Queens clash in newcomers’ finals

New kids on the block, Air Warriors of Abuja and MFM Queens of Lagos yesterday defeated their more illustrious opponents in gruelling semi-finals to set…

New kids on the block, Air Warriors of Abuja and MFM Queens of Lagos yesterday defeated their more illustrious opponents in gruelling semi-finals to set up an all newcomers grand finale of 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League.

In the first semi-final played at the Indoor Sports Hall of the national stadium in Lagos, debutants Air Warriors caused a major upset as they defeated defending champions First Bank 62 – 61.

Another upset was recorded in the second semi-final as MFM Queens overcame 2015 champions, Dolphins 58-53 to set up the mouth watering finals with Air Warriors.

First Bank, who had won nine national titles, appeared on course for another win as they took a 15-7 lead in the first quarter.

The Lagos club increased the lead to 32-23 points at the end of the second quarter and did not let up in the third quarter, extending their advantage to 49-36.

But the determined Air Warriors fought back from the 13-point deficit to tie 58-58 deep into the fourth quarter.

Air Warriors took the lead (60-59) for the first time with just 38 seconds left on the clock and held on for the narrow win before a hugely excited audience.

Although the Elephant Ladies tied the game again at 61-61 with 30 seconds left, Air Warriors were undaunted and won by one point to reach their first ever finals.

The chairman, Air Warriors Solademi Abdulmajid said he was elated at the superlative performance of his girls against the defending champions.

“We feel honoured, pleased to defeat the defending champions. It was a deserved victory as we came from 17 points down to defeat our opponents,” he said.

In the same vein, Air Warriors captain, Blessing Emmanuel said the team put up a good fight and capitalized on the weakness of their opponents to get to the finals.

The final of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League Final 8 will hold today at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.

With their semi-final victories, Air Warriors, MFM Queens have automatically qualified for the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou from 28 October to 3 November.

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