By Bamidele Boluwaji:
D’Tigers of Nigeria have relinquished their position as Africa’s best having lost 65-77 points to Tunisia in the final of the 2017 FIBA AfroBasket that came to a close in Rades, Tunisia on Saturday night, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerians who went into the Championship as the defending champions could only win one quarter from the four played on Saturday to pave way for the new winners to emerge.
D’Tigers took the lead in the first quarter with 14-8 points but failed to maintain the tempo in the second quarter as the Tunisians overpowered the Nigerians to take the lead in the period with 17-10 points and end the first half with 24-25 in favour of Tunisia.
It was more difficult for the Nigeriains in the third quarter when the Tunisians mounted serious pressure on them and the effort helped the co-hosts to gain more advantage that saw them leading the quarter with a commendable 27-16 points.
That was the point where Nigeria lost the title having worked so hard to be in the final despite their unimpressive preparation towards the tournament.
The last quarter however ended in a 25-25 points tie to pave way for the Tunisians to emerge as the new African champions as the game ended 77-65 against D’Tigers.
As usual, D’Tigers captain Ike Diogu tried all he could but his effort was not enough to see Nigeria retaining the title as he contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat. Point Guard Ikenna Iroegbu added two assists.