Pinheiro Expects Tight Playoffs

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Former Chairman of Lagos State Council and one time coach of the junior national team, popularly called the Junior Tigers, Agboola Pinheiro, says he expects a tough competition in the NBBF/DSTV Super 8 Playoffs scheduled for Lagos from 20-27 June inside the Basketball Indoor Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, South-West, Nigeria..

The former head coach of the Jordanian national basket ball team, said fans should expect an excting tournament as all the teams that qualified for the playoffs will parade quality players in the weeklong tourney.

“The tournament is going to be very competitive and exciting because all the team will be aiming at dethroning the defending champions, Kano Pillars Basketball Club.

“I am eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the playoffs just like every other basketball fan and I can promise you most of us will be spell-bound with the displays that will be showcased by the teams,” he said.

He further stated that this year’s basketball league has shown that there are no more small or big teams in the Nigerian league, while the gap between the so called big teams and the small one is getting closer.

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“It is evident from the results of the Atlantic Conference that the gap (if any) is closing drastically between the highly rated teams and the less fancied teams. This is because most of the teams want to become champions and secure continental tickets to represent the country at international tourneys,” he said.

The Super 8 Playoffs 2010/2011 edition is a post season tournament played among the top eight teams (four table topping teams from both the Savannah and Atlantic Conferences) to determine the eventual Champions of the Nigeria Basketball League for each year. Kano Pillars Basketball Club are the defending champions of the league and the only team that did not drop any game all through the regular season of the 2010/2011. Basketball pundits are, however, tipping one of the Lagos teams to become the new champions.

Other teams in the race for the diadem include Kada Stars of Kaduna, Yelwa Hawks and Bauchi Nets. Leading the challenge from the Atlantic Conference are last season’s third place finishers, Union Bank of Lagos, last season’s runners-up Royal Hoopers of Port Harcourt, and former league champions, Comets, who are staging a comeback to the post season tourney after winning the league shield in 2003. 2006 Africa Champions Cup’s third place side, Dodan Warriors of Lagos will also play in the competition.

—Bamidele Olowosagba