20 December 2007

NIGERIA : Police Rookie tourney enter knock-out stage

The 2007 edition of the annual Nigeria Police Rookies Basketball Championship enter the knock-out stage Friday after a gruelling four-day preliminaries by the eleven teams that entered for the U-18 boys category.

Mark Balogun who is the initiator of the championship that has been running since 1992 who is an officier with the Nigeria Police and Head Coach of the Police Basketball teams, says, this year championship has been quite competitive with teams giving a good account of themselves in a bid to out play one another.

Balogun who spoke to www.fiba-afrique.org Correspondent in an exclusive chat after the buzzer shot Thursday signalling the end of the preliminaries at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, venue of the championship that he is proud to be associated with the development of basketball at the grassroot.

The Police Officer cum basketball tactician beleived that kids who are taking part in the championship this year are sure to make it big in the game in the nearer future.

"I am thrilled by the turn out and enthusiasm of the kids who have been deprive of any form of competition by the Nigeria basketball ruling body, NBBF and the Lagos State Basketball Association under whose constituency the players falls.

"I am proud to be contributing to the lives of these young players and I can say for sure that quite a number of them will take Nigeria and the World basketball scene by storm some-day just like those who have passed through this programme in the past.

Eleven teams entered for the U-18 boys category, two in the female cadre who have been programmed to play a best of three series and two U-12 boys who are also battling it out in a Best-3-Series with the finals holding on Saturday.

In the four quarter-finals lined up for Friday are group-A leader, M.D.Abubakar Rookies will take on C.B.C at 09.00 hours, group-A third place team UNILAG will slug it out with group-B runner-up Raptors at 10.00 hours, Jituboh Rookies who finished third in group-B will do battle against group-A runner-up Court Cruisers at 11.00 hours, while the last quarter-final pairing will see group-B leader Flammers against NAF Rockets at Noon.

The semi-finals will also hold same Friday.

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