Lagos – Gombe Bulls has joined two other Sahara Conference teams — Kano Pillars Basketball Club and Mark Mentors of Abuja — in the semi-finals of the ongoing Dstv Men’s Basketball play-offs.
Only Dodan Warriors of Lagos was the only team from the Atlantic Conference that qualified for the semi-finals.
Gombe Bulls, Kano Pillars, Mark Mentors of Abuja and Plateau Peaks are in the Savannah Conference of the league.
Gombe Bulls who are debuting in the play-offs defeated Oluyole Warriors 53-34 and Lagos Islanders 45-42 in the competition being played in Lagos.
The team however lost to Mark Mentors but still qualified with two wins and a loss at the group stage.
NAN reports that hostilities in the 2013/2014 Dstv basketball play-offs for the league’s title began on July 13 with four clubs each from the Savannah and the Atlantic Conferences.
To reach the semi-finals stage defending champions Pillars beat Union Bank of Lagos 88-71, outclassed Plateau Peaks of Jos 94-53 and humbled Dodan Warriors 84-79.
Mark Mentors also achieved three games winning streak in their Group B encounter, beating Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan 82-61, thrashed Gombe Bulls 76-58 and scaled through Lagos Islanders 53-50.
Dodan Warriors established superiority over Plateau Peaks 71-57, beat Union Bank 65-52, but fell to the superior dunking power of Kano Pillars in a tough match.
Meanwhile, Pillars are paired in the semi-finals match against their Savannah Conference counterparts, Gombe Bulls, while Mark Mentors will play Dodan Warriors in the second semi-final game.
The four coaches whose teams are playing the semi-finals matches expressed optimism on their chances of reaching the final and ultimately clinching the championship title.
The Coach of Kano Pillars, Sanni Ahmed, told NAN that he was happy about the performance of his team so far in the play-offs.
He expressed confidence in his team retaining the title, adding that they had every reason to be confident of retaining the title.
“We played well in the group matches and handled every team that came our way perfectly well.
“We have every reason to believe that this year’s championship’s trophy is going back with us to Kano at the end of the competition,” Ahmed said.
For Peter Ahmed, coach of Mark Mentors, his team is poised to lift this year’s trophy.
“We have proved our worth as a good team, there is no stopping us now, we will keep it up and ensure we reach the final,” Ahmed said.
Chris Nomigo coach of Dodan Warriors said that they’ll go back to the drawing board and re-adjust in areas they needed to improve upon.
“We have done well so far, I must congratulate my players for reaching the semi-finals, but we still have to work harder.
“This year’s final eight has been fantastic, but for few mistakes by the referees we would have different results in our group matches.
“However, we look forward to the next crucial game and we hope to do well,” Nomigo said.
Coach Mohammed Abdulrahman of Gombe Bulls commended his team for a brilliant group stage outing, adding that nobody gave them a chance in the tournament.
“We had good results in the preliminary stage; we will not get complacent with our next opponent, Kano Pillars in the semi-finals.
“We will approach the game with the necessary discipline, confidence and tactics and hope it will favour us at the end,” Abdulrahman said.
The semi-final matches come up on July 18 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.
Union Bank, Lagos Islanders, Oluyole Warriors and Plateau Peaks will slug it out in the classification matches on July 17 and July 18. (NAN)