The five-day Crown Elite Basketball Championship taking place inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere is set for a thrilling climax this weekend.
Rivers Hoopers will battle it out against the UNILAG Basketball team in what should be an explosive final contest.
Interestingly, both teams started their campaign at this championship on a losing note before getting into their stride to navigate their way into the final.
Hoopers registered a 61-48 win over Lagos Islanders in Friday’s semifinal to set up the clash against the Akoka Boys.
Owen Oriakhi (11), Buchi Nwaiwu (10), and Johnson Anaiye (10) combined for 31 points. The KingsMen started strong in the game, leading by 18 points at the end of the first quarter (22-4).
The second quarter was a low scoring period for the two teams as they both struggled on the offense (11-6). Hoopers, however, extended their lead to 20 points with 5:46 remaining on the clock.
The Kingsmen got back their rhythm after consecutive 3-pointers by Oriakhi at the start of the third quarter.
Although the Kingsmen were outscored by Islanders in the fourth quarter 12-16, the game was beyond recovery as Hoopers had done enough to earn their place in the final.
As for the UNILAG basketball team, they defeated Lagos Legend 64 – 53 to seal their place in the final and also serve a glimpse of what to expect from them in the Nigeria University Games, NUGA coming up in March 2022.
According to the itinerary shared by the organisers, activities for the final day will commence by 10 am with the third-place match between the losing semi-finalists; Lagos Legends, and Lagos Islanders.
Then there would be an All-Star Female game by noon before Hoopers and UNILAG basketball teams take centre stage for the grand finale by 3 pm.
Now in its second year after the maiden 2021 edition, this 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 expressed delight at the standard of play as well as the general comportment of teams at this year’s competition.
“It is good to see the tournament getting better and bigger, with more support from everyone out there, we can even do more” the elated former player declared.
As already announced, the champions of the 2022 Crown Elite Basketball Championship will go home with N1.5 million, with the first runners-up getting N1 million, while the second runners-up will receive N500,000.