Home Sports Rivers Hoopers blowout Cape Town Tigers to clinch Nigeria’s first BAL podium...

Rivers Hoopers blowout Cape Town Tigers to clinch Nigeria’s first BAL podium finish





Nigerian champions Rivers Hoopers completed their adventure at the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL) with a dominant 23-point blowout of South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers to clinch third place, securing Nigeria’s first ever podium finish at the BAL with an 80-57 victory on Friday night.

The KingsMen, who enjoyed a remarkable run which saw them emerge champions of the BAL Season Four Sahara Conference, went into the playoffs with a target of finishing on the podium and were presented with one last opportunity to achieve that goal as they squared up to the wounded Cape Town Tigers in the battle for third place.

Hoopers were determined to prove their mettle and started the game like a house on fire, with Kelvin Amayo scoring the game’s first points within 5 seconds in what would turn out to be a commanding first quarter, which saw the KingsMen lead by 13 with the scores at 25-8 after 10 minutes of action.

A much improved Cape Town Tigers team tried to claw their way back into the game during the second quarter, but Rivers Hoopers continued to match them up with each possession to limit the South Africans to just a three-point advantage during second quarter action at 21-18.

Rivers Hoopers went into the halftime break with a huge 14-point lead as the scores stood at 43-29.

The KingsMen started the third quarter as well as they did the first, limiting their opponents to just nine points, while pouring in 20 to extend their advantage to a massive 25 points at 63-38.

The fourth quarter saw Coach Ogoh Odaudu make wholesale changes to his Rivers Hoopers side, with the team’s home-based professionals handed much deserved game time. They went toe-to-toe with the South Africans, who could only reduce the deficit by two points, as the game ended 80-57 in favour of the Kingsmen, who led all through the encounter and claimed third place at the BAL season Four.

The result meant that not only did the KingsMen actualize their goal of a top three finish, but they also delivered Nigeria’s first ever podium at Africa’s most glamorous club basketball championship.

On a memorable night for the team from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu was also named the BAL Season Four Coach of the Year.

Odaudu said, ”I feel really good and excited; nobody gave us a chance, and now being voted coach of the year is the icing on the cake.

”We are extremely excited. I am proud of my team and how they came out today after the semi-final loss. They really came out firing today,” Odaudu added.

Kelvin Amayo, who had been instrumental for the KingsMen through the entire season, finished with a flourish as he poured in 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.

He was complimented by Devine Eke, who hit 20 points along with nine rebounds. Will Perry had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, while both David Ike and captain Victor Koko contributed 10 rebounds each as the KingsMen wrapped up a remarkable appearance at the BAL Season Four.






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