Francis Okome scored 23 points as unbeaten CAMAC of Bayelsa emerged inaugural champions of the Total Division 2 National Basketball League after overcoming Brave Hearts of Calabar 84 points to 81 points in a hugely entertaining game in the final of the first ever Total/NBBF Final 8 tournament on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos.
Both teams have also secured qualification to the Total/NBBF National Division 1 League.
In what was a tightly contested encounter, it was Brave Hearts who stormed off the blocks dominating the early exchanges although CAMAC eventually rallied back to go into the break trailing by just one point.
The second period started in much the same fashion with CAMAC again taking time to get going and at the end of the third quarter, Brave Hearts led 59 – 53 taking a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Perhaps it was the plan all along for CAMAC to allow Brave Hearts wear themselves out before exploding in the fourth quarter because they suddenly were a much different team in the fourth. An 11 – 0 run saw CAMAC overturn the deficit to claim a lead they never relinquished and even the 44 points of point guard Sunday who led Brave Hearts on a late onslaught against CAMAC couldn’t turn the tide and at the sound of the final buzzer, CAMAC were champions and Brave Hearts were inconsolable.
Okome was the top performer for CAMAC with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Sunday’s 44 points and 7 rebounds for Brave Hearts won him the Finals MVP award.
An elated Etogun Kehinde, coach of CAMAC described the tournament as “amazing” and told busybuddiesng.com that his team’s victory was the result of “dedication” and “focus”.
“I’m really excited for getting this victory,” he said. “I never really expect that we will get to this level but as the game [kept] going higher we keep fighting hard and fighting and dedication and never lose focus that’s what gave us the victory.”
President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation Musa Kida who was present for the final described himself “pleased” with the “world class play at division 2 level” and said that the Total/NBBF Division 2 league shows that his vision for the grassroots “has been vindicated”.
“I am very pleased, my thoughts on the potential of Nigerians at whatever level especially grassroots has been vindicated,” Kida said.
“I’ve always believed that Nigeria has the greatest potential in the world, I’ve always believed that our players did not have an environment in which they could express themselves and what Total sponsored division 2 league did was to allow them and give them the environment for them to be able to express themselves well and this can only help Nigeria going forward.”
Kida also confirmed that sponsors Total are committed to another year of sponsoring the National Division 1 and 2 leagues.