The female team of Lagos State emerged champions of the basketball event of the 18th National Sports Festival held in Lagos in the fourth quarter of the outgoing year.
Coach Adewunmi Aderemi-tutored Team Lagos defeated defending champions, Rivers 61-34 to claim the gold medals in the women’s event of the biennial tourney after they finished third at the last festival held in Port Harcourt, River State in 2011.In an interview with P.MNews after the final match that was played at the Rowe Park court in Yaba, Lagos, coach Adewunmi said that it was a great victory for him and his girls, because they were able to overcome Team Rivers.
“We are aware of what Team Rivers could do as you are aware that we lost to them in the semi final last year, so we refused to allow them settle and play their game.
“Before the match I was confident of my girls and they did just what I wanted and we got the gold,’’ he said.
However, Team Rivers’ women’s coach, Caroline Biggs attributed her team’s inability to clinch the gold medal to her best players not allowed to play in the festival.
“Three of my best hands were not allowed to play at this festival because they were ruled out by the indigenisation laws guiding the festival,’’ Biggs said.
She added further that her team was contended with the silver, saying that the team would reclaim the gold medal in Calabar in 2014.
Prior to the festival, Team Lagos had emerged winners of the the 7th Lagos City Basketball League.
In the final match played at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Naional Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, the Coach Adewunmi Aderemi-tutored side defeated the Police Rookies 55-48 points to emerge champions.
Also during the quarter under review, the International School of the University of Lagos, ISL, won the second edition of the Dr. D.K. Olukoya Basketball Competition, one of the top basketball competitions in the country.
ISL, who were coached by Ernest Ijeoma, were unbeaten throughout the the tournament as they defeated Doregos Private Academy, Ejigbo in the final by 39-16 in Univeristy of Lagos basketball court.
Coach Ernest told P.MNews after the final match: “I am very excited to finally win this competition after we failed to triumph in the first edition in 2010. It has not be easy but we are glad to finally win after all the hard work and dedication of the players.”
In the third place match, Airforce Secondary School, Ikeja defeated Sacred Heart College 30-22, while an exhibition match between female players of both fianlists team ended in favour of the girls from Doregos Private Academy, Ejigbo.
During the fourth quarter of the outgoing year, Nestle Nigeria Plc, makers of Milo food drink, donated an ultra modern basketball court to the Ilupeju community in Lagos. Speaking on the initiative, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Manager of the company, Dr, Samuel Adenekan said it was part of their social contribution to the community where they operate.
On the international scene, American born-Nigerian player, Ike Diogu who had a stellar performance for D’Tigers at the Olympics could not make Phoenix Suns’ team for the new NBA season.
The NBA team announced the release of forward Diogu and center Solomon Jones after the pair were hoping to jumpstart their career with the Suns.
Diogu, who starred at Arizona State University before being drafted ninth overall by Golden State in 2005, has bounced around the NBA.
Also, Nigerian born-American player, Andre Iguodala who is an eight year veteran of the NBA moved from Philadelphia Sixers to Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets, who didn’t play a lot of defense last year, are hoping that the NBA All-Defensive Second Team member may help change the teams focus.
While commenting on the move, Iguodala said: “I think my strengths as a player fit in very well with Coach Karl’s system and the way he likes to play. I like a more up-tempo game, and I know this team gets up and down the floor being among the league leaders in scoring and possessions per game last year.”