Nigeria’s representative at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers in Contonou, Benin Republic, Rivers Hoopers defeated hosts Elan Sportif 71-63 points to become the first team to qualify for the maiden edition of the FIBA AfroLeague in January next year, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The win was the third for Rivers Hoopers after they edged out Civil Defenders in their opening game of qualifiers 89-84 on Tuesday and Braves Customs of Ghana on Wednesday.
The Kings Men have now qualified for the FIBA Afro League having recorded three games with two games left to play against Harbel Pointers of Liberia on Friday and AS Police of Niger Republic on Saturday.
Victor Koko posted 12-point, 10-rebound, while Buchi Nwaiwu and Solomon Ajegbeyi racked in 10 points apiece. Ajegbeyi added eight rebounds and one block to go with it.
Elan Sportif were a tough nut to crack but Hoopers dug deep to lead by just 6 points at the end of the first quarter 23-17. The Nigerian team also won the second quarter 41-37.
In the third quarter, Rivers Hoopers led Elan Sportif 49-42 but were outscored 15-17 in the final quarter.
Rivers Hoopers head coach, Ogoh Odaudu praised his players after the victory.
“Elan had the advantage, the crowd, it was really a difficult game but I give kudos to my boys they kept their cool, maintained their confidence and at the end of the day they came out with a victory and I am very happy we got this and we are looking forward to the next one,” Odaudu said after the game on Thursday.
“It’s always a big joy going for something like this especially the Afro League. It’s the first season so being part of history is something that makes me very excited. I am really looking forward to playing in the Afro League. It’s going to be interesting playing against different teams. I am really looking forward to it.”
By Johnny Edward