14th August, 2013
Former Nigeria basketball league champions, Kano Pillars of Kano and Union Bank of Lagos would lead other teams from the Atlantic and Savannah conferences to battle for the league’s title when the final four playoffs dunks off in Lagos in September.
Mark Mentors Club of Abuja and Dodan Warriors of Lagos are the other teams that would participate in the 3-day tourney scheduled to hold inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
Though the commencement date of the season ending tourney is yet to be announced by the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, sources in the federation hinted that the playoffs is likely to hold after the country men’s national team, D’Tigers would have ended their participation at the 2013 Afrobasket holding from 20-31 August in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Pillars are the favourites to clinch the league’s trophy this time around after over two years since the coach Sanni Ahmed led side last tasted triumph in the domestic league.
Going into the national final four playoffs, the Kano State owned club hold an impressive unbeaten record in the regular season and in the Savannah conference’s playoffs.
With an array of experienced players in their fold, such as Abubakar Usman and Mathew Omoyeh, Pillars played the whole 28-match regular season in the Savannah conference and three matches in their conference playoffs without a defeat.
Their closest challengers, Mentors of Abuja, who also have experienced players, could only finished as runners up after suffering five defeats to Pillars in both the regular season and the playoffs.
Plateau Peaks defeated Niger Potters by 72-63 in the playoffs to finish third ahead of Potters, while Pillars and Mentors qualified as the two representaives of the Savannah Conference in the final four playoffs.
Coach Ayinla Johnson led Union Bank and Dodan Warriors-coached Peter Ahmedu are the two teams that will represent the Atlantic conference in the season end final four playoffs after both teams emerged tops at the conference’s playoffs ended in Lagos on Monday.
The qualification of Union Bank and Warriors did not come as a surprise to many pundits of the sports because both teams finished first and second respectively in the regular season.
The retired Col. Sam Ahmedu owned Warriors topped the standings for most part of the season before Union Bank caught up with them in the last matches remaining in the season.
Same scenario played it self out in the conference’s playoff concluded on Monday, as Union Bank, under Assistant coach Chris Okoh, rallied from a defeat in their first match against Islanders (66-73) to beat Oluyole Warriors (56-85) and Warriors (73-79) in their subsequent matches and win the playoffs ahead of Warriors.
Both Islanders and Oluyole Boys, as the Oluyole Warriors are popularly called, could not progress to the national final four after they finished third and fourth respectively.
According to a board member of NBBF, Mr Agboola Pinheiro, in a chat with P.M.NEWS Sports from his office in Lagos the final four playoffs initially scheduled to hold from 16-18 August inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos has been posponed indefinitely.
The former national team coach stated further the postponement was to allow teams in the Atlantic conference enough time to prepare for the season ending tourney, adding that a new commmencement date would be announced to the public soon.