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Winling and Energy to hold court


UNFANCIED basketball team Winling emerged as the surprise package in the Super Commercial Cup when they beat holders Frankwell 96-76 at the Southorn Stadium last night to qualify for today's title game against Energy, writes Norideen Kitchell.

Winling, who have improved with every game and edged Energy 74-72 in their preliminary round clash on Thursday, were always in command against a Frankwell team depleted by the absence of Andrei Bondarenko because of an ankle injury.

Mack Joyner was quick to find his scoring touch with nine points in the first five minutes as Winling pulled away to an 18-6 lead.

Although Frankwell clawed their way back into the game and shot ahead 31-30 with Janis Azacis tipping in a rebound, Bill Courtney put Winling back in front with two free throws and a three-pointer.

Winling hung on to lead 47-46 at half-time and a nine-point streak saw them pulling away to a 63-54 lead five minutes into the second period.

Frankwell's cause seemed lost when Elchad Gadachev had to retire with a twisted ankle and Winling went on a scoring rampage for a 74-56 lead.

Title favourites Energy overcame a slow start to crush Fukien 92-75 in the other semi-final.

With Chad Tucker showing glimpses of the form which earned him a horde of Hong Kong fans a couple of seasons back, Fukien showed the way for a full 15 minutes before Energy took control.

It was smooth sailing for Energy once Craig Upchurch put them ahead 28-27 and they never looked back after extending their advantage to 43-33 at half-time.

Upchurch, Lynn Tryon, Mark Meredith, Cheyeeen Gibson, Donald Robinson and Andre Foreman all reached double figures on the scoresheet for Energy, but Fukien's Tucker led all scorers with 19 points.