A Playoff Victory For The Ages, Or For The Want Of A Good Travel Agent A Championship Was Lost

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As fans travel to Houston for the NCAA regionals, they can only hope their favorite team shows as much spunk, as much desire, as much can-do spirit as Beaumont's Southeast Texas Mavericks.

The Mavericks are part of the American Basketball Association (suggested slogan: "Not the ABA You're Thinking Of"), and they had reached the semi-finals of the league playoffs. The ABA Final Four.

Only the San Francisco Rumble stood in their way. And anytime you're up against a Fulton Mitchell-coached team, you better be ready to give 110 percent, if not 111 or 112.

Drawing upon every last reserve of strength, the Mavericks fought through to the Finals....because the Rumble couldn't afford to make the trip to Beaumont.

They forfeited, and gave the win to the Mavericks. Go team!!

The $21,000 price tag for travel was too much, league executive Joe Newman told the Beaumont Enterprise.

"I cannot think of anything good about it," Newman said by telephone.

"It's a sad day all around. In a world of difficult problems, it does not match health care, Israel, terrorism or education. The world won't end with this situation but it is sad."

The league's announcement wasn't quite so despondent, not even mentioning the Middle East: "The scene is set for a gigantic encounter in this season's ABA Championship Finals," it said.

The finals begin tonight in Owensboro, Kentucky, where the Mavericks take on the Kentucky Bisons. Assuming the Mavs got a good fare and hotel rate.

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