NBBF Premier League: Rivers Hoopers Finish President Cup Unbeaten (AUDIO)


Rivers Hoopers dispatched Nigeria Army Rockets 93-54 in their last Group A game on Friday in Ilorin to finish the first phase of the 2019 NBBF President Cup unbeaten.

Ikechukwu Benjamin led the way with 18 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals. Benjamin was red-hot from behind the arc as he sunk 6 of 13 three pointers against Army Rockets.

Abdul Yahaya was one rebound short of a double-double notching up 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and a block in 21 minutes. The former Kano Pillars forward shot 1 of 2 from the deep and 7/7 from the free throw line.

Victor Anthony contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal in 14 minutes.

Emmanuel Balogun and Simon Owoicho had their own stamp on the game weighing in with 6 assists apiece.

The KingsMen dominated from start to finish at both ends of the floor and outscored Army Rockets in all quarters. They took a 13 point lead into the break which was extended to 24 points at the end of the third quarter.

Anthony Thomas scored a team high 16 points and five rebounds for Nigeria Army Rockets.

The two teams cancelled out each other in the paint with 32 points apiece but it was Hoopers who were superior from the arc 16-of-32 against 3/19 made by Army Rockets and won more points from the bench 44-14.

Rivers Hoopers won all five Group A games against Ondo Raiders, Benue Braves, Lagos Islanders, Police Baton and Nigeria Army Rockets to finish as group winners and top seed ahead of the final phase.

The final phase of the NBBF President Cup and venue will be communicated to all teams after the competition in Ilorin.

Despite finishing with a 5-0 record in Ilorin, Rivers Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu feels his side still has room for improvement.

“It’s a good feeling even though I feel we should have played better than we did in our 5 games so its something I am worried about heading towards the final phase. We will definitely go back to work on the things we didn’t do properly.”

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Odaudu sees Kwara Falcons, Civil Defenders and Lagos Islanders as threats to his team but expressed optimism about picking the sole ticket to the Basketball Africa League scheduled for March 2020.

“Every team is a threat until you play them on the court and beat them. Basketball is not played on paper, Kwara Falcons are a good team you can see how mobile they are, they are young, they are mobile, they are aggressive.

“Civil Defence are also a threat, they’ve been on the continent, they are experienced, they have very strong guys, so, they could wake up any day and be a threat.

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“Islanders came here with a ten-man team but I am sure that by the time you see them in the second phase they are going to be an entirely different team, they are also a threat.

“So, those are the teams that we are actually going to look out for, but nothing is on paper and with the talent I see on my team and if we do the things that we are supposed to do, I don’t see any team stopping us.”