WITH just 11 seconds remaining and Marist Brothers' High School trailing by two points, it looked certain the Fiji Secondary Schools Basketball Championship under-19 title was travelling to the west.
But like magic, Marist shooting guard Iosefa Taliu made a last gasp try for a three pointer from midway in Natabua High School's territory.
And he succeeded.
The deafening cheers from the Red Fire crowd at Suva's Vodafone Arena followed that masterpiece basket as Marist won the U19 title for the third consecutive time beating the arch-rival 38-37 in a pulsating showdown.
An emotional Taliu, who is originally from Tuvalu, said he was not sure of his attempt but had no choice because the team was up against time.
"I wasn't sure it was going to go in. I just made use of the practice I did at home and did my best," the 18-year-old Form Seven student said. "I don't have a 100 per cent shooting record, sometimes it's on and sometimes it's off but today (yesterday) when it really mattered, it went well."
Marist asserted its dominance in the early quarters of the match, leading 14-12 at the break. Successive infringements from the Flagstaff boys saw Natabua bounce back in the third quarter to take a 24-22 lead.
The Lautoka-based side continued their brilliant form in the final quarter until the final 10 seconds when Taliu struck the winner.
"It's the Marist spirit in the boys that kept them going even when everybody thought we had lost the game," team coach Tevita Ratuyadra said.
"I told the boys at the locker room before the game this was their opportunity to set a legacy of winning the title three years in a row before leaving the school."
Natabua skipper Amish Naresh said his boys lost concentration in the final seconds of the game resulting in the close loss.
"But we will train harder and come back stronger next year," he added.
Adi Cakobau School won the girls U19 title beating Saint Joseph's Secondary School 26-24 in another close tussle.