Titans Basketball Club has qualified for its fifth consecutive National League final after edging a thrilling division one semi-final over Templeogue on Saturday.
It took a period of overtime to separate the two sides, but it was the Matt O’Flaherty Chemists Titans who prevailed by 99-97 over Templeogue Azzuri in Renmore and will now face UCC Demons, who defeated Ulster Elks by five points, in the final on March 23.
From start to finish this game kept the 250 fans on the edge of their seats. Templeogue contributed with 20 three-pointers, Titans’ Andre Tongo made 38, and in a game in which the lead changed more than 30 times, the home side’s substitutes showed real courage after three starters fouled out.
Having been 10 points down,Titans won the first quarter 23-22 and followed up in the second, 22-17. However coming under increasing pressure from some superb outside shooting from the Dubliners, Titans were also beginning to clock up some fouls.
And in the second half, Templeogue showed their pedigree with former Superleague player Phil Taylor and u-20 National Cup winning captain Luke Thompson continuing to grab three-pointers.However some timely substitutions helped the home side’s cause, and although the Dubliners outscored the locals 21-17 in the third quarter, Titans still led 63-60 going into the fourth.
The final quarter was the stuff of heart attacks and thrills all in one with 57 points scored in the final 10 minutes, three Titans fouled out, and 11 three-pointers. Down by six with two and a half minutes to go, Titans’ Paulius Pelzius led the charge once more helped by Conal McMichael to send the game into overtime.
The see-sawing nature continued until the final seconds when the Dubliners once again held the advantage, and w Pelzius, Hynes, and Fabriciuss all fouled out, and Tongo heavily guarded, it looked like game over for Titans. However, “cometh the hour..cometh the man”, Conal McMichael, with just four seconds to go, drove the baseline and shot from 12 feet to make score right on the buzzer. It gave the home side the victory that puts them into another National League final.
MO’F Titans scorers: Andre Tongo (38 ), Toms Fabriciuss (18 ), Paulius Pelzius (18 ), Toufik Mustaffa (8 ), Conal McMichael (7 ), Gintaras (5 ), Seamus Garrity (3 ),Pedro Vasquez (2 ).