The 2017 Kwese Premier Basketball League final 8 got underway on Sunday in the ancient city of Kano-northern Nigerian. The final 8 comprises a combination of the top four teams each from the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences.
Unfortunately, due to the politics at the national level, Rivers Hoopers who finished as runner-up during the Atlantic Conference 6 playoffs had to withdraw from the final 8 as a result of a directive from the sponsors of the team (Rivers State Government).
Their spot was eventually taken by Oluyole Warriors who finished fifth-place at the Atlantic Conference 6 playoffs.
On the opening day of the championship-Sunday, Kano Pillars were well and truly at home, doubling their points against late entrants Oluyole Warriors. Pillars emerged 92-43 victorious against Oluyole Warriors.
Abubakar Usman of Pillars led game scoring with 20 points, while teammate Dele Ademola recorded the games only double-double, netting 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Kwara Falcons defeated Plateau Peaks 74-67, thanks largely to some inspirational play from Godwin David, who netted a game high 23 points. Idris Abdul of Plateau Peaks recorded 12 rebounds and 14 points, to earn the games only double-double digits.
In other results from Sunday, Gombe Bulls defeated Nigeria Customs 87-68, while Niger Potters defeated Hoops and Read 93-88, in a high scoring game.
On Monday, the biggest upset yet to be recorded in the league season saw Gombe Bulls defeat Kano Pillars 83-80, in front of the vocal Kano fans.
Kano Pillars, firm favourites and defending champions, led scoring in the first quarter 18-13, second quarter 43-35, before Gombe Bulls rallied back in the third quarter 56-56, eventually winning the fourth quarter 83-80, ending Kano Pillars long sequence of invincibility on home court.
In another upset involving two Atlantic Conference teams, Kwara Falcons- Atlantic Conference leaders- surprisingly lost by 5-points to Hoops and Reads, 84-79.
First Quarter Ended: 16-16, Second Quarter: 34-33, Third Quarter: 62-60, and Fourth Quarter: 84-69.
Hoops and Reads Jide Ogunsemore, was on fire and totally unstoppable, netting 29 points and 14 rebounds, completing a solo double-double on both sides of the court.