Dapo Sotuminu, Lagos
As the Conference Play-offs of the Kwese Premier League Basketball hots up in Lagos and Bauchi in the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences, Lagos team, Hoops and Read have declared that their focus now in the Atlantic Conference is to defeat their Match Day 5 opponent, Ebun Comets when the two teams slug it out at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Digital Bridge Institute inside the Old Nitel ground, in Cappa, Oshodi Lagos.
The proprietor of Hoops and Read, Olumide Oyedeji, a former NBA star and Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, told our reporter in Lagos, that, a win for his team on Monday, would ensure their qualification for the Kwese Premier League Final 8, where the eventual champion of the 2018/ 2019 season would be decided.
Oyedeji, told Sports Compass after his team’s victory against Oluyole Warriors in the match number 12 played on Saturday, that, his club players have been told to take their chances against the Ayo Bakare-tutored team when they play on Monday at 1pm.
He said: “This game would determine our qualification for the Final 8 of the Kwese Premier League. Our focus now is to book a place in the Final 8, where we have all agreed that, we should do better than the third place finish last season.
“This time around, we have a fairly balanced team that could challenge for the Nigerian Premier League title. My boys were a little bit jittery last year at the Final 8 in Kano, as it was their first time after gaining promotion from the lower league. Due to lack of experience, the boys threw away valuable games which they would have won, but today it’s a different ball game as the boys are more matured than last year. Our goal in the Atlantic Conference Play off, is to win all matches played so as to first and foremost emerge champions of the Conference, this would give the players a sense of bigger responsibility to confront other big clubs in the Savannah Conference during the Final 8.”
In Hoops and Read’s last game against Oluyole Warriors on Saturday, the Charles Osho-tutored boys won 88 – 51, with Tobi Ariyibi emerging the star of the team after recording 16 points. The duo of Micheal Daramola and Owen Oreiahi, gave Hoops and Read a better advantage as they each made 13 points to help their team record a wide margin against the team from Ibadan despite the extra coaching support from millionaire owner of First Deep Water basketball club, Ayo Babatunde Babalola.
While the coach Taiye Shobogun-tutored team’s Fadojutimi Kehinde’s 10 points wasn’t enough to pull any scare. The Ibadan team was only able to make 9 points from turnover as against 15 points made by the Charles Osho-led team.
The 8 points made from fast breaks, helped Hoops and Read to widen the margin as the Oluyole boys stood firm to challenge their opponent. The lead only changed twice before the Olumide Oyedeji Boys broke away winning all the four quarters at 21- 11, 38-22, 59-34 and 88-51.
The challenge before the Aribiyun Sunny captained Hoops and Read team is to ensure victory against the youthful Ayo Bakare-tutored team that was close to recording an upset in the early part of the 2018 season but escaped after the game stretched to overtime.
In other Match Day 3 Atlantic Conference Playoffs games played at the Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Oshodi, Lagos, Customs lost 68-81 to Ejike Medos- motivated Anambra Flames, Ebun Comets beat Delta Force 73-59, and Kwara Falcons defeated Police Batons 78-59.
The game between Ebun Comets and Delta Force was a tension soaked cracker, as the teams tied five times. Comets had 9 points from fast break, against Delta’s 2 points. The Asaba team led in the first quarter to send a scare and ended up trailing from the second quarter to the fourth, at 30-32, 47-51 and 59-73.
For newly promoted Anambra Flames of Onitsha, the victory against Customs was a consolidation for their possible qualification for the Final 8. It was a difficult game for the Flames who had to trail for the first two quarters at 18-6 and 36-31 respectively, before they staged a comeback in the third and fourth quarters where they led at 52-44 and eventually won at 81-68.
The stars on the Anambra Flames in that cracker were Azurigbe Chuioke and Ojo Adeolu who both recorded 17 points each to save the day for the Fames. In the game that lasted one hour, 45 minutes, Customs put up a brilliant performance as Ayodele Olwaseyi recorded 21 points, Oduliye Adebayo made 17 points and Buhari Tolani made 16 points all for Customs. But all these weren’t enough to salvage the game for Customs who had the luxury of their game being directed by two quality coaches, Scot Nnaji and Mohammed Aba.
The coach Mohammed Aba-tutored Customs team also failed to utilize the 15 points they made from second chance points, against Anambra Flames 9.
The stage is set for the Day 5 of the Kwese Premier League basketball Playoffs in both the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences.
In the Atlantic Conference, Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan who had only one win against Police Batons will open the day’s challenge with the game against last season’s Conference winners, Kwara Falcons who had won all three matches played at 11am. The second game of the day would see the all important cracker between Ebun Comets who had won two games of available three and Hoops and Read armed with 100 percent record with jump ball at 1pm, and the third game of the day would be between two neighbours Anambra Flames of Onitsha who had won three games out of three and Delta Force of Asaba who are yet to record any victory out of the three games played so far, at 3pm.
The last game of the day would see the coach Emeka Oputa-tutored Police Batons team which has recorded only one win against Delta Force in three matches played, take on Customs who are yet to win a game at 5pm.
KWESE PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYOFFS 2018 RESULTS
Day 1 Results (Atlantic Conference).
Kwara Falcons 72-50 Customs
Delta Force 51-63 Police Batons
Hoops & Read 88-79 Anambra Flames
Oluyole 56-65 Comets
Gombe Bulls 84-59 Defenders
AHIP Giants 65-104 Kano Pillars
Niger Potters 63-64 Bauchi Nets
DAY 2 RESULTS (Atlantic Conference)
Oluyole 79 – 67 Police Batons
Hoops & Read 83 – 80 Customs
Delta Force 45 – 75 Kwara Falcons
Comets 66 – 68 Anambra Flames
DAY 3 RESULTS
GAME 9 Bauchi Nets 77-67 Defenders
GAME 10 Plateau Peak 62-91 Gombe Bulls
GAME 11 Kano Pillars 91-68 Niger Potter
Ahip Giants bye
GAME 9 Customs 68-81 Anambra Flames
GAME 10 Delta Force 59-73 Comets
GAME 11 Kwara Falcons 78-59 Police
GAME 12 Hoop & Read 88-51 Oluyole Warriors