15 May 2006

NIGERIA: Experience gives Union Bank sweet revenge over Dodan Warriors

By Patrick Omorodion

Union Bank Basketball Club of Lagos Saturday dug into their wealth of experience to shoot out the rampaging Dodan Warriors also of Lagos in a nerve wrecking Vmobile Basketball Premier League encounter decided inside the Indoor Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos.

Dodan Warriors tutored by Alex Owocho took the first shot after the jump ball to prove to all they were there for a repeat of their first round defeat of the bankers but the boys of Emmanuel Okolo fought back to lead 20-18 after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Warriors parading a more younger bunch of players take Union Bank on a running lesson, picking 16 points to their opponent’s six to finish the second quarter at 34-26. The tempo was kept but Edem Ekpeyong inspired his colleagues and they closed the lead to just two points at 46-44 in favour of the Warriors.

The race for victory became fiercer as the last quarter got under way and again Ekpeyong brought Union Bank level at 50-50 and thereafter it became a ding dong affair with the bankers relying more on experience to check their much more fit and agile counterparts.

Time left for the Warriors to seal victory like they did in the first round was just 11 seconds with a point ahead at 64-63 but the Warriors blew when a faulty pass was intercepted by the bankers who made for the hoop through Shola Alanyande who was fouled in the process.

At this time the hall was tensed and Warriors fans prayed for Alanyande to miss the free throws. He missed the first but got the second to level scores at 64-64 with just three seconds left for play. The Warriors could not utilize the advantage and the game had to go into overtime of five minutes.

Desperation crept in for the youthful Warriors who still had the stamina to stretch the Bankers but the more experienced boys who got some pep talks from their coach, Okolo held on to the ball and got fouled by the Warriors who managed to pick five points to Union Bank’s 15 in the extra time to end the game at 79-69 and give Union Bank a deserved victsory.

During the first round, Dodan Warriors had also dragged Union Bank into extra time and overpowered their much more experienced opponents to win at 78-73. It was not all sad story the Col. Sam Ahmedu sponsored side as they got a technical victory over Delta Force who were penalised by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for failing to provide electricity during their game in Asaba which was abandoned following power outage.

According to the NBBF secretary general, Segun Akinlotan, “it was the responsibility of the host team to provide electricity and the rules are clear on that, so the technical committee had to award the match to Dodan Warriors”.

In another Atlantic Conference match decided Friday in Asaba, Delta Force beat Lagos Islanders 61-59, a victory which Islanders proprietor, Toyin Sonoiki described as fraudulent, saying that the home team did everything to secure victory.

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