Rivers Hoopers defeated Gombe Bulls 74-57 in the final match of the Nigeria Basketball Federation Final eight on Tuesday, giving Hooper’s the ticket to return to Basketball Africa League.
Anaiye Johnson, championship MVP propelled Hoopers over the Bulls as he scored 12 points, collected five rebounds, six assists, and had one block.
Just as important were his 75 percent shooting from distance, which was crucial.
Accompanying Johnson’s stellar play was the contributions of players like Koko Anthony, who finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds while the duo of Ekuma and Oriakhi poured in 10 each in the win.
It was the Bulls who led after the opening quarter 22-16 but Ogoh Odaudu’s men came from behind to lead with five points; 36-31 by halftime.
They then followed this by their strong defense to see off Coach Abdulrahman Bulls.
Abubakar Yakubu’s game high 18pts did little for the Bulls who ran out of steam from the third quarter and also lost out on rebounds 39-45.
Earlier, Kano Pillars won the third place match, outscoring Customs 82-64 points.
Ben Akhutie of Nigeria Customs was adjudged the tournament’s best rebounder, Owen Oriakhi of Rivers Hoopers scored the highest points, Abubakar Yakubu (Gombe) was the best three-pointer while Kwara Falcons won the fair play award.
Hoopers’ duo of Anaiye Johnson & Owen Oriakhi together with Wisdom Anyaoha (Gombe), Ben Akhutie (Customs), Micheal Lordprince (Kwara Falcons) and were all selected as the championship best five in the event witnessed by the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, Daniel Amokachi, sports ministry officials and other stakeholders.
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