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SOL defends title in a heart-stopping ‘Battle of the Schools’ Decider

A grand final is entertaining when the participating teams put up a solid performance, running neck-to-neck in scores and going into extra time to determine the eventual champion.

This was what the University of Papua New Guinea ‘Battle of the Schools’ Men’s Basketball Grand Final playoff was like, in a heart stopping match between the four-time reigning Champions, School of Law (SOL City Counsels) who went head-to-head against School of Business and Public Policy (SBPP Eagles) at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) Basketball Court on Saturday, 30th September, 2023.

Both teams ran neck-and-neck in scores. In the first quarter, SOL led 6-2 but SBPP came back, making use of goal opportunities, and went on to lead 11-10 at halftime.

Although SBPP put up a challenging fight exceeding SOL’s expectation of SBPP which they posed a threat to the UPNG Counsels, SBPP were still determined and put up an aggressive contest.

SOL Team Captain Peggile Nema, a final year Law Student, said SBPP is a very strong team and they knew they would go hard against them.

“This is a first of its kind which we never played into extra time and another extra time again, it was a strong game,” said Nema.

The SOL-outfit took the lead in the fourth quarter, 24-23 in the final 20 seconds, but their opponents managed to catch up and tie the game 24-24 at full time.

The game went into an extra 5 minutes to determine a winner but in the end, the match tied again at 34-34.

Another extra two minutes were given, which mattered the most for the two teams in the dying seconds. SBPP’s minor mistakes gave the Counsels’ shooter the golden opportunity to dribble and drive through to secure the winning shot for his side.

It was a thrilling decider that kept fans on their toes which saw SOL fought strongly to defend their title.

“It was a very lucky win. There were 3 seconds left and we got the last basket. Overall, we did our best and came out as champions. I am impressed with the boys,” Nema said.

Nema also thanked the UPNG Basketball Association's President, Sepu Samson, and his hard-working committees, as well as the participating schools for making this annual event a success.

Furthermore, the Women's Grand Final saw Scholl of Natural and Physical Sciences (SNPS Atoms) meeting SOL-outfit girls in a highly-anticipated decider. The match was fiercely contested between both teams. However, SNPS Atoms' agility and tenacity to compete were stronger, which eventually saw them emerged as champions and danced away with the coveted prize.

Atoms women's victory was not a surprise. They were a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, winning all of their games, and this ultimate victory proved their dominance, teamwork, and determination.

The Battle of the Schools Competition Grand Final was entertaining and yet memorable for all basketball enthusiasts. SOL City Counsels will be remembered as Men's Champions and SNPS Atoms as Women's Champions of this 2023 Battle of the Schools Basketball Competition.

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