End Of Year Review (4th Quarter): Momentum Sustained; As 2010 Ends On A High

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The momentum of the action that ran through the third quarter in the local scene was sustained in the last quarter of the outgoing year.

The regular season of the NBBF/DSTV Premier League ended at the tail end of the third quarter. The Final-8 Play-off dunked- off in Port Harcourt with the best four from the two conferences: Atlantic and Savannah Conferences converged in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The organisation and the standard of play in the Final 8 were adjuged the best in  recent time by stakeholders at the end of the competition.

Bimbo Faniran, chairman of  Nigeria Basketball Supporters Club, gave kudos to the organisers for a well packaged Final-8 that saw the defending champions, Kano Pillars Basketball Club of Kano beating the hosts, Royal Hoopers Basketball Club of Port Hacourt 78-77 points in a match broadcast live by the sponsor, DSTV Nigeria.

Ifie Ozaka, Secretary of the  LOC, was glad the  committee put up a good job.

“Our plan was to organise the best Final-8 in the history of the game in Nigeria. Fans enjoyed the best actions from the clubs, while live performance of artistes was on daily to spice up the championship.  Our plan for our club, Hooper was for us to win a continental ticket, which we also achieved,” Ozaka, who is also the Team Manager of the club.

At the grassroots level, coaching clinic was organised by Lagos State Basketball Association, LSBBA and the American Embassy for School Coaches and Games Masters from the South West Zone of the country.

A Nigerian based in Canada, Dr. Patrick Omo-Osagie told participants at the Lagos clinic that the country needs coaching education. He urged the participants to make use of the course materials for them to further develop their knowledge of the sport.

Mustapha Suleiman, a member of the board of Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, also sponsored a clinic and tournament for the North West Zone, which he represented on the board. The clinic/tournament, which was held in Kano State, was well attended by coaches and young basketballers from the zone.

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The finals of the biggest school basketball tourney in the country, Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, was also held during this period. St Joseph Secondary School, Markudi, Benue State won the tourney. They dethroned former champion, Ahmaddiya College, Kano by 76-63 points in the boys’ category, while Asaba Girls Grammar School beat Royal Dalex College, Ilorin, Kwara State in the girls’ event.

Bisi Joseph, Secretary-General of Nigeria Schools Sports Federation, NSSF,  disclosed  that the edition was one of the best organised in recent times. The top 50 Camp was also held with some of the best in the school championship joining their other young colleagues in the country for five days clinic handled by coaches  in the country and the United States.

The two Nigerian representatives at FIBA-Africa Club Champions Cup for Men qualifiers in Monrovia, Liberia, Kano Pillars and Royal Hoopers picked the two tickets available in Zone-3 for the main finals hosted by Benin Republic.

The  country’s representative, First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos, could not defend their title at the Zone 3 qualifier as they finished fifth.

The quarter was not all smooth sailing for the game in the country. The National U-18 men team, Junior Tigers could not pick a ticket for the world U-19 championship coming up next year.

The team were enmeshed in age controversy after one of the players, Godfrey Moses, was suspended for falsifying his age. This made  the team to forfeit all their points in the championship held in Rwanda.

On the international scene, New Jersey Nets signed a veteran free agent, forward Joe Smith. Nigerian born, Emeka Okafor who is spending his seventh season in the American NBA continues to inspire his club, New Orleans Hornets in the ongoing NBA season.

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