Kwara Falcons, Rivers Hoopers and Hoops & Read booked their places in the finals of the 2017 Kwese Premier Basketball League after match day 3 on Thursday in Ilorin. While champions Kano Pillars, Niger potters and Plateau Peaks also qualified for the final 8.
The game between Kwara Falcons and Nigeria Customs which was saved for the last took place at 4pm. It was a crucial tie for the two sides based on the pedigree of the two coaches and the teams involved.
Kwara Falcons coach Adewunmi Aderemi was an assistant to Scott Nnaji during their time with the female senior national team, D’Tigress at the 2015 Afrobasket in Cameroon.
Both teams parade an array of stars in their team. While Customs have experienced players with quality, Falcons boast of both youth and experience.
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It was a game that served the fans with lots of excitement, skills and passion. Falcons emerged winners in the end after overcoming a struggling first half to beat the Nnaji led side. The story of Falcons is that of one who laughs last, laughs best. Despite starting well in the first half with a good chance to win, Customs fell short later in the fourth quarter with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Godwin David who has been in impressive form in their last two games scoring in double digits, led his team with an 84 -73 points win over Customs.
David scored 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals, Mojuba Oyeleye also continued in fine form, added 16 points and 3 rebounds, Godspower Ossai added 10 points and Johnson Anaiye had 14 points with 7 rebounds to go with it.
Seyi Ayodele made 21 points and 6 assists for Customs but it was not enough to overcome a mobile Falcons.
This result keeps Customs in a very difficult position and they’ll need to win one or two of their last two games to book a spot in the finals.
In the other games played on Thursday, Rivers Hoopers made it three wins out of three games to book their spot in the finals. Hoopers beat Oluyole Warriors (who already lost three games) 76-69 points.
Solomon Ajegbeyi who had a double-double a day ago, made another double-double. He made 10 points and 12 rebounds. Emmanuel Balogun also contributed 13 points for the Hoopers
The Warriors made Hoopers work for every point won and didn’t make it easy for them having in mind that a win would have given them a life line in the playoffs.
The Ibadan based team have all to play for in the remaining two games billed to take place on Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hoops & Read basketball team bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to Hoopers to beat Police Baton.
Aion returned in the Savannah Conference after a day rest. High flying Niger Potters beat Plateau Peaks 91-82 while Kada Stars lost their third game in a row to Gombe Bulls. Bulls who lost their opening two games beat Kada Stars 90-53 points while Bauchi Nets fell to Kano Pillars.
As a result, Kano Pillars, Niger Potters, Plateau Peaks from Savannah Conference, while from the Atlantic Conference, Kwara Falcons, Rivers Hoopers and Hoops & Read have all qualified for the final 8.
Only four teams from each of the conferences will qualify for the finals of the 2017 Kwese Premier Basketball League.