Basketball: Rivers Hoopers make playoff finals


Rivers Hoopers rounded up their Atlantic Conference Play-off campaign by spanking Delta Force 67-55 on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.
Victor James scored 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals while Oba Orinari added 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists enroute a comfortable victory over the already eliminated Force.
It indeed was a high flying performance from Orinari in the first quarter as he contributed half of the team’s opening quarter score which eventually ended (16-20) in favour of the Hoopers.
The second was quite similar as the Port Harcourt side could only score 12 points in total while heading to half time with a four point lead (28-24).
A James double early in the third, 4-0 extended Hoopers lead in combination with a 3 pointer from Alalibo his first and only in the entire game 1/7.
It was however a challenging last quarter offensively for Hoopers who failed to score in about 7 minutes and found it hard to cope with Force’s three point shots 9-0.
With two minutes left on the clock, Orinari’s power drive launched a layup which later led the way for more shots and powerful dunks from Somto Managor and Ronald Alalibo.
The game was tied in four different times in all the quarters of the game (2-2, 18-18, 48-48 and 53-53).
After the game, Hoopers captain Ngowari Bobmanuel told that his team is ready to challenge for a podium finish after a remarkable return to the DSTV Basketball League.
“It’s been wonderful and great experience that I will never forget and cherish. We will just have a shot at the final eight and see how it goes from there, “said Ngowari.
The Centre player who took over the captain arm band from Ikashi Ochomma at the beginning of the season, said faith and hard work saw them through the 2015/2016 campaign.
“I felt a little discouraged because we put a lot in training and we couldn’t see the outcome of it but I kept on believing that the more we work hard, things would definitely turn around for us,” Ngowari explained.
Meanwhile, Delta Force coach, Brodrick Peter is not discouraged his team failed to meet their target this season.
Delta Force lost all four games and Peter has attributed their elimination from the finals to poor funding of the team.
“I am not discouraged because finance in sports is very vital. The players are very young and need a lot of support which they didn’t get. I believe lack of finance prevented them from giving their best.” Said Peter.
By the result, Rivers Hoopers confirmed their position as the 2nd best team in the Atlantic Conference, finishing behind Kwara Falcons who they defeated on Friday. Both Hoopers and the Falcons will join Nigeria Customs and Oluyole Warriors as Atlantic Conference representatives in the Finals of the DSTV Basketball League 2015/2016 season.
The quartet will challenge the teams from the Savannah Conference: Kano Pillars, Plateau Peaks, Gombe Bulls and Niger Potters for the title between June 20-25 at a yet-to-be decided venue.
Day1 Tuesday 7/6/16.
Oluyole Warriors 53- 65 Kwara Falcons.
Customs 71- 68 Rivers Hoopers.
‪‎Day 2  Wednesday 8/6/16.
Oluyole  Warriors   42- 67 Rivers Hoopers.
Delta Force 50 – 75 Cstoms.
‪‎Day 3 Thursday    9/06/16.
Rivers Hoopers   64- 61 Kwara Falcons.
Delta Force. 62 – 69. Oluyole Warriors.
‪Day 4 Friday 10/06/16.

Kwara Falcons 105 – 58 Delta Force.
Customs 76 – 55 Oluyole Warriors.
‪Day 5 Saturday   11/06/16.
Rivers Hoopers  67- 55 Delta Force.
Kwara Falcons 79- 60 Customs.

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