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Kwese Basket Ball League: Gombe Bulls Will Bounce Back, Says Coach

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Gombe Bulls coach, Abdulrahman Mohammed believes it is not over yet for his team. Bulls finished second in the regular Kwese Premier League Season but lost their two games to defending champions, Kano Pillars and Niger Potters in the ongoing Savannah Conference Six play-offs going on in Kaduna.
Speaking on the chances of his team which lost on Monday to Kano Pillars 97-104 points and another loss by one point 105-106 to a hard fighting Niger Potters of Minna in a thrilling neck-to-neck encounter, he said at this stage qualification for the final eight in Kano is their basic resolve.
“We have not lost hope at all. We still have the chance of qualification for the last eight even though we may have to take the difficult route.
“All we need to do now is to make sure we win our three remaining games against Kada Stars on Thursday, Plateau Peaks on Friday and Bauchi Net on Saturday.
“I know the remaining games will not be easy because teams like Kada Stars and Plateau Peaks will want to impress and prove a point against us, but we are ready and have put behind the loses.”
The former national team captain also said it is better that these loses happened at the final six stage rather than the final.
“I am happy the loses came at this stage, had it been during the final eight, we would have been out of contention. The fixtures also are a bit not favourable to us because as a team that came second in the regular season it is unfair to pitch us in early games against top sides like Kano Pillars and Niger Potters knowing that first wins boosts players’ confidence.
“The ideal thing would have been to start with weaker teams and then progress.” Mohammed who was part of the 2015 Afrobasket coaching crew that won the trophy after 50 years decried the poor motivation of his players by the management team in the Conference Six.
“Painfully, we are the least motivated team in this tournament. Agreed, the state government makes sure the players are not owed salaries during the regular season but coming to championship of this magnitude goes beyond having good player and regular salaries, there must be other encouraging incentives like winning bonuses and additional allowances to give the players extra motivation. Constant salaries I must say are not enough there is need for something extra.” He said.

Meanwhile, Wisdom Prince, Niger Potters’ point guard who put up a splendid performance with five three points throws to help his team beat rivals Gombe Bulls in the 106-105 win has attributed the win to their hard fighting spirit.
“We had to keep fighting and it paid off. We played with so much belief and never game up. We gingered ourselves to fight back each time we were trailing.”
The game which ran neck-to-neck with fans standing on their toes saw Prince scoring the match winner three points shot and ending the game with 26 points with Sabo Gabriel leading scorer with 29 points finish, Gideon Omokudu 21 points and Umar Alhaji with 20 points.
“We are in Kaduna to win and qualify for the Final 8. This is my first season in the premier league and it is a dream comes true for me. For me, my dream is to play continental with Potters.”
Potters with two wins against Bauchi Net and Gombe Bulls will today Thursday face Plateau Peaks.

Thursday’s Fixtures
• Kada Stars vs. Gombe Bulls
• Plateau Peaks vs. Niger Potters
• Bauchi Nets vs. Kano Pillars

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers Advance to 2024 BAL Playoffs

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Five Hoopers players scored in double digits with Devine Eke (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Peter Olisemeka (17 points, 19 rebounds) dominating the boards 

 Nigeria’ Rivers Hoopers beat Rwanda’s Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) 78-71 in the first-ever BAL (https://BAL.NBA.com) double-overtime game and became the first Sahara Conference team to clinch a spot in the BAL Playoffs which are set to tip off at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda on May 24.
 
Five Hoopers players scored in double digits with Devine Eke (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Peter Olisemeka (17 points, 19 rebounds) dominating the boards as well. Will Perry added 11 points and seven assists in a low scoring affair in which both teams shot less than 40 percent from the floor.    
 
Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza led APR with 16 points and five rebounds, while Dario Hunt finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Going into today’s matchups, APR is currently second in the Sahara Conference and will look to secure a postseason berth when they take on Senegal’s AS Douanes (4th place with 2 wins and 3 losses) this evening.
 
In the second game of the day, the 2022 BAL champions Tunisia’s US Monastir kept their playoff hopes alive, defeating AS Douanes 75-69 and getting their second straight win in the competition. This is a turnaround for the Tunisian champions who started the Sahara Conference from three straight defeats, but now stand one win away from the postseason. Chris Crawford led Monastir with 18 points and seven assists, Oussama Marnaoui scored 16, and Firas Lahyani finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
 
Abdoulaye Harouna led the Douanes with 22 points, with Adama Diakhite adding 14 points and nine rebounds.
 
APR, AS Douanes and US Monastir will compete for the last two playoff spots when the Sahara Conference concludes this afternoon – Rivers Hoopers will take on US Monastir at 2:30 p.m. GMT and AS Douanes will face APR at 5:30 p.m. GMT.    

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Basketball Africa League (BAL).


Basketball Africa League (BAL)

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NBBF Final Four: We are In Port Harcourt to win, says Gboko City Chiefs

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Gboko City Chiefs making presentation to Chris Green

The General Manager of Gboko City Chiefs Basketball Club, Fanen Iornem says they are in Port Harcourt to win the NBBF Final Four championship.

Iornem, who stated this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Barr Chris Green, stressed that the team was ready for any opposition.

He opined that Gboko City Chiefs have bonded together sufficiently and are in high spirits to overcome opposing teams and land the title.

According to him, “I will just tell straight forward that we are here to win; in as much as bookmakers might want to say anything, we are happy that everybody is looking at us like the 4th team because this is our second season in NBBF league but we are here to win with the calibre of the players we have, we have everything we need to succeed.”

On basketball in Nigeria, the GM said that the level was high but was quick to add that there is the need for more championships and longer period of playing to improve the game.

Reiterating the GM’s position, Team captain, Antibas Samaila and Centre, Bright Osagie Akhuetie both said they were ready to give their all and were not scared of any team

While welcoming the team to Rivers State, Chris Green expressed delight that the final four championship was taking place in Port Harcourt and assured that necessary facilities and associated logistics have been put in place to enable hitch competition.

While explaining that basketball was is first love in sports, he noted that the State would be making best of the final four championship to prove the dominance of Rivers Hoopers amongst other teams.

Said he: We have in place what is probably the best basketball court in Nigeria as at today. We have done everything possible to ensure a great atmosphere for everybody.

“I am happy that the final four is here. There will be a level playing ground for every team, let basketball be the winner. Rivers Hoopers is the home of basketball in Nigeria and we have always been winning. I want to welcome every team to Rivers State.”

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Divided again, South Korea beat North Korea in Asian Games basketball

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Asian Games - Hangzhou 2022 - Basketball - Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium, Hangzhou, China - September 29, 2023 South Korea's Haeran Lee in action with North Korea's Ryona Hong during the match REUTERS/Ann Wang Acquire Licensing Rights  

Having played in a unified team at the Asian Games in Jakarta five years ago, North and South Korea’s women basketballers battled each other in Hangzhou on Friday in a full-blooded contest that the South won 81-62.

In 2018, North Korea contributed three players to the 12-member roster coached by South Korean Lee Moon-Kyoo: Ro Suk-Yong, Kim Hye-yon and Jang Mi-gyong.

They won a silver medal, losing 71-65 to China in the final.

On Friday, at China’s Asian Games, a number of the roster returned, split on opposing sides for the Group C match at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium.

Ro captained North Korea and guard Kim started on the bench, while South Korea had forward Kang Lee-seul, guard Park Ji-hyun and centre Park Ji-su among the 2018 alumni.

With South Korea and North Korea still technically at war, there has been diplomatic tension at the Games.

North Korean athletes refused to join South Korean rivals for a group photo of medal winners at the shooting competition.

With that backdrop, South Korea’s coach Jung Sun-min warned her players not to respond too aggressively if the game got physical.

It did at times, with North Korea’s 6ft-8in Pak Ji-na laying some bruising hits on her opponents.

“We also predicted this tense game in the locker room,” Jung told reporters.

“I reminded our players … definitely there will be some inevitable physical contact.

“However, we shall not over-react.

“And this shall not affect the competition, we will control ourselves.

“We were fully prepared for it. If they are strong, we will be stronger.”

North Korea had a cheer-squad numbering a few dozen people high up in the grandstand of the half-full stadium.

Wearing identical white T-shirts and baseball caps, they chanted throughout and cheered madly every time a South Korean was off target.

Yet with China a long-standing ally of North Korea, there was plenty of local support in the crowd.

South Korea trailed at the first quarter but big centre Park took command to drive them to a 33-25 lead at halftime and extend the lead to 20 points after the third quarter.

UNIFIED TEAMS

Unified Korean teams have played at several international events, in ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and also canoeing and rowing at the Jakarta Asian Games.

Further opportunities for sporting tie-ups have proved difficult, with North Korea not competing at any major multi-sport event since the 2018 Asian Games due to a combination of COVID-19 and suspension by Olympic authorities.

Whether North Korea’s basketball team would be open to another tie-up in future was not something their coach Jong Song-sim could answer during the post-match press conference.

A North Korea team official sitting beside Jong, who was an assistant coach of the unified team in 2018, said the question was not relevant.

A South Korean reporter who asked whether the North Korean team had enjoyed the local food and the support of local crowds at the Games was upbraided by the same official, who took exception that the reporter had not referred to the nation as “DPRK” (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) — as per Asian Games protocol.

“You should apologise,” the official snapped at the reporter, the question left unanswered.

South Korea’s Park said she was happy to see her former North Korean team mates five years on from Jakarta but suggested the emotion of the moment may have affected her.

“I actually didn’t give my best performance,” she told reporters.

“After five years, I finally see my opponent, I thought I would be pretty happy but I didn’t get any chance to talk to them.”

-Reuters

 

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