Rivers Hoopers have continued their fine form in the Nigeria Premier Basketball League with a slim 59-53 win of the Oluyole Warriors in a weary match up in Port Harcourt.
Point Guard, Chimobi Azubuike, scored 16 points while Somto Chukwu Managor and Moses Godffrey added 8 apiece and 6 rebounds in a very close encounter in Hoopers fourth straight win of the season.
The former champions went into the game in confident mood after wrapping up three straight wins. Although both sides started slowly as no shots were made in the first two minutes of the first quarter.
It was Friday’s hero, Ronald Alalibo whose shot in 8:30 opened the basket for both teams followed up by 3-pointers from the opposing side sparked the game to life.
Azubuike’s double shot with less than 40 seconds on the clock ensured the Port Harcourt side head to the second quarter with 15-13 lead.
The Petroleum Engineering student of the University of Port Harcourt continued from where he left off in the first quarter with two straight shot within few seconds of the second .The game was tied in different occasion, 2:57 25-25, 0:54 27-27 before Moses’s three point shot before the buzzer gave Hoopers the lead going to the break 30-29.
Similarly, Azubuike continued with his brilliant performance in the third quarter with two steals and it also recorded tied points from both teams in 6:26 36-36, 5:45 38-38.
The host, however, got a 10-point lead 54-44 in the fourth with less than five minutes on the clock but the Warriors successfully reduced the deficit but could not snatch the win as they were made to do catch up till the end of the game.
The excited Ogoh Odaudu dedicated the double win to Hoopers’ fans.
“It is a great feeling and it’s something we could have done over and over again during the regular season. It is the last time our fans would see us play this season so we had to give them something to go home with. So the double win was not for us but for our fans.
“If you look at both teams you could see that fatigue had set in a little bit because it was a strenuous game yesterday (Friday) both teams burnt themselves out and today (Saturday) fatigue started setting in and it was a slow and unimpressive game but most importantly is that we came out top.” Odaudu said.
Oluyole Warriors coach, Taye Shobolu hopes his team can still make the last four from the Atlantic Conference of the DSTV Basketball League.
“I am not disappointed. My players did their best and you all can see that the score is so close. Delta Force still have a game in Lagos against Nigeria Customs and the outcome of the game will determine our fate.” Shobolu explained.
Rivers Hoopers will next play Conference leaders, Kwara Falcons on May 27 and 28 in Ilorin which will be the team’s last game of the regular season. Falcons have remained unbeaten on home court.