Rivers Hoopers defeated Gombe Bulls 74-57 in the Finals of the Nigeria Basketball Federation Final Eight on Tuesday, November 16, giving Hooper’s the ticket to return to Basketball Africa League.
Anaiye Johnson, Championship MVP, propelled Hoopers over the Bulls as he scored 12 points, collected 5 rebounds, 6 assists and had one block, and just as important as his 75 percent shooting from distance was crucial.
Accompanying Johnson’s stellar play was the contributions of players like Koko Anthony, who finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds while the duo of Ekuma & Oriakhi poured in 10 each in the win.
It was Bulls who led after the opening quarter, 22-16, but Ogoh Odaudu’s men came from behind to lead with five points 36-31 at Half time then followed by strong defense to see off Coach Abdulrahman Bulls.
Abubakar Yakubu’s game high of 18pts, did little for the Bulls who ran out of steam from the third quarter and also lost out on rebounds 39-45.
Earlier in the tournament, Kano Pillars outscored Customs 82-64 points to win the third place match and claim the number three spot.
Grabbing prestigious prizes and awards at the finale, were Ben Akhutie of Nigeria Customs who was adjudged the tournament best rebounder, Owen Oriakhi of Rivers Hoopers scored the highest points, Abubakar Yakubu (Gombe) was the best three pointer while Kwara Falcons won the fair play award.
Victor Anthony Koko won MVP of the Final. He had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 Blocks and 2 steals.
Hoopers duo of Anaiye Johnson & Owen Oriakhi together with Wisdom Anyaoha (Gombe), Ben Akhutie (Customs), Micheal Lordprince (Kwara Falcons) were all selected as the championship’s best five, in the event witnessed by the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, Super Eagles iconnic striker, Daniel Amokachi, Ministry Officials and other stakeholders.