By MARTHA DERUAGE
THE Sparrows proved a touch better to beat the Rebels 52-44 to retain their Port Moresby Netball Association premier division title at the Rita Flynn Indoor Complex on Saturday.
Both teams came out firing in the first quarter, with the Sparrows taking a 11-9 lead.
The Rebels attack had Winnie Mavara, Marinama Maha and Lua Rikis going up against Sparrows defenders Courtney Abel and Kilala Owen.
Great pressure from Rebels defenders Serena Ovia and Susan Wellington restricted Sparrows shooters Mary Leka and Joyce Nao, allowing the City Pharmacy-sponsored side to draw level at 23-23 at halftime.
At the end of regulation time, the scores were locked at 37-37.
An additional 14 minutes saw the Sparrows pull ahead and snatch the win.
Sparrows coach Lawrence Lahari said he was pleased that his players were able to defend their title.
“I can’t remember the last time a grand final in the premier division had been given extra time,” she said.
“This just proves that the competition is healthy.
“Credit to the Rebels, they have improved over the season to get where they are and they put up a great challenge for us.”
“It feels good to win and we look forward to defending our title again next year.”
The grand final saw Sparrows’ Joyce Nao named the best shooter.
Sparrows’ Kilala Owen and Rebels’ Genevieve Ume were named best defender and best midcourt respectively.
“I am so proud to see Genevieve winning the award,” Rebels coach Oti Lasagavibau said.
“I have been with the team for the past two years and she seem to be a talented young lady with great potential in netball.
“This was not the grand final result we expected.
“The girls got a bit exhausted in extra time.
“Our defenders were outstanding.
“Overall, everyone played well and I am proud.”
By MARTHA DERUAGE