Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP) men’s basketball team successfully defended its National Basketball League (NBL) title by beating Tornado 98ers 61-56 at Maseru Club on Friday.
LP went into the game with an advantage leading the best of 5 series by 2-1. With the win on Friday “Mekonko” as LP is affectionately known secured a 3-1 overall win.
The encounter was T98ers’ first finals’ stage appearance since its formation in 2018 while for LP it was a fourth successive final.
The champions started the playoffs on a high note when they won 49-40 in their first game last October. From there they won their second game by 81-47 before T98ers won the third game of the series by 43-38.
LP needed to secure a victory in the fourth game to avoid any chance of seeing the match go all the way to last game and a possible title decider.
In an interview with Newsday Sport, LP coach Tumelo Mara said he gives credit to his charges for their dedication.
“Our target was purely to defend our title against all odds and to win the remaining games in order to become champions and all credit goes to the guys for all their hard work,” he said.
For his part, T98ers coach Thabang Letlala said despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s desire to win.
“From the bench I could see that the boys were putting in a fight so despite the loss I am happy with their fighting spirit,” he said adding that for his side, reaching the finals for the first time was a milestone on its own.
“We reached the finals and the guys still fought hard against the defending champions. For us just reaching the finals was a big achievement and says a lot about our potential going forward,” he said.