28 April 2008

NIGERIA : Nigerian basketball shifts to Jos, Potters cut Peaks

The entire Nigeria Basketball system has practically moved to the city of Jos – a city north east of Abuja - as members of the Federation, coaches and former players join the President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Elder Jacob Gyang Buba as he buries his late mother Mrs Kaneng Buba on Monday. The mother of the Nigeria Customs CG died last week in Plateau State aged 85years.
All through the weekend, the number one member of the Federation received sympathizes from far and near including members of the Federation and club owners.

And just as the sympathisers trooped to Jos, the league games continued across the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences. In Minna the much advertised star match of the weekend ended 66-51 for Niger Potters over Plateau Peaks of Jos. Both teams entered the game with one hundred percent record.

“It all went well. We worked hard, played well and won the game,” the Potters coach Adamu told FIBA just after the game played Saturday night.

Despite the 14 point difference, the game lived up to the billing as Peaks proved they were real title contenders. Both teams have won the Nigerian league title in the past.

But as the game in the Savannah was a first class treat those at the National Stadium, Lagos were treated to a game difficult to define its class as Union Bank team drilled Delta Force 83-33. That type of 50 points blow out was last seen in the Nigerian Premier League nearly seven years ago when there were 16 teams campaigning in the system.

“It clearly showed that Delta people are not just ready for this league. They are not just part of this system,” an analyst said at the courtside.

Union Bank, like Potters are keeping their one hundred percent record with the win. Delta Force on their part are suffering from cash and managerial challenges. The club which was owned and run by the state had a change of management just before the first shot was taken this season with the transfer of franchise to former basketballer.

Before the Saturday match began, fans were actually in doubt if the Delta team could make the long trip to Lagos but were not in doubt if they would lose the match and also lose widely. Delta opened their season campaign at home with an 87-81 loss to AHIP as they fans watched in disbelief. In the previous they had lost only one game at home in Asaba even though they could not make the play off eventually.

Customs are starting their Road Trip games Monday evening with the match against Potters in Minna.

Pius Ayinor

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