The second edition of the Crown Elite basketball championship got off to a thrilling start at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere.
Defending champions Ebun Comets were stunned in the opening game as they lost to Kwara Falcons 45-48.
In the exciting contest that kept most fans on their feet for the majority of the duration of the game, the Comets led for the most part of the game before they were overtaken at the end of the third quarter by their opponents.
Hard as the defending champions tried to get back into the game, they were fenced off by the Ilorin-based club who held on for a three-point victory and have vowed to extend their winning streak in the five-day tournament.
Anuoluwapo Olajide, Ebun Comets Head coach, rued the loss to the Falcons and he blamed it chiefly on his players not carrying out the instructions given.
He, however, said the competition will be a good learning curve for his youthful side even as they hope for better results in their subsequent games.
He said: “We hope to get better in our subsequent games, if not anything else, I am happy that the players have this kind of opportunity to express themselves, as you can see, we have a developing squad that would only get better.
Seyi Ajileye, Kwara Falcons Point Guard, said he was very excited about their opening win despite arriving in Lagos late from their base.
He said: “ This is our first time in this competition and we feel honoured to be here, we promise to do even better in our subsequent games.”
In the other opening day fixtures, the Raptors also out-dunked Dodan Warriors 69-59 while Unilag lost 55-60 to Lagos Islanders.
Now in its second year after the maiden 2021 edition, the basketball tournament is a brainchild of Crown Elite sports who outside the basketball game also organise a mentorship session for youngsters hoping for a career in the slam and dunk game.
Hanson Oguche, Founder and President of Crown Elite Sports, said he is happy to make an impact by mentoring those coming behind and also making basketball more viable for those seeking a career of it.
He said: “The stakes are higher this year so we expect a keen contest from the participating teams, our dream is to make Nigeria a basketball hub where even other countries will come to compete”
The champions of the 2022 Crown Elite Basketball Championship will go home with N1.5m, with the first runners-up getting N1m, while the second runners-up will receive N500,000.
Meanwhile, during the fans’ experience section on the opening day, Ayomide Kudehinbu and Folasade Airebawa won N5,000 each in the three-point contest, while Joy Koko won N50,000 in the middle of the court contest.
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