Nigerian Premier Basketball League defending champions, Kano Pillars and top notch Nigerian club, Falcons of Ilorin at the weekend emerged champions of the Savannah and Atlantic Conference Six of the Kwese Premier League playoffs after winning all the five matches.
The two Conferences had six teams each, saw actions at the Murtala Muhammed Square, Kaduna and the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara Sports Complex, Ilorin.
With only four qualifying for the Final 8 which has been scheduled for Kano from September 4 to 9. Kano Pillars defeated hard fighting Gombe Bulls 104-97 points in their first game, defeated Kada Stars 91-58 points, won Bauchi Net 85-44 points, fell Niger Potters 103-71 points and beat Plateau Peaks 80-64 points to maintain an unbeaten run.
Coach of the Kano based team, Sani Ahmed, speaking on his team’s performance after the championship reiterated his club’s desire to retain the trophy after the Final 8 in Kano.
“Winning the Savanna Conference Six shows the level of consistency in the club. It also tells of the amount of hard work put in by the players to winning tournaments.”
Ahmed said the ultimate goal of the team is to retain the Final 8 trophy next month. “The team is not one hundred percent perfect yet. We are still a high scoring side averaging 80 points per game but we are still going to do more so as to defend and win the Final 8 at home in Kano. Our tradition is to win any tournament we find ourselves in. So, we aim to retain the Final 8. We have noticed some weaknesses and lapses in the course of our games and will work on them before the Final 8. I noticed the boys sometimes get complacent; but we need to be consistent and more perfect in taking shots.”
The coach also disclosed that the Conference play-off was part of preparations for his team’s participation in an invitational tournament slated in Malaysia in the first week of September. “Immediately we conclude the Final 8 we shall be honoring a fully sponsored trip to Malaysia for an invitational tournament involving teams from Japan, China, Malaysia and teams from other Asian countries. Good enough we will be prepared because the Kwese Premier Basketball League Final 8 as good preparations for the tournament.”
In the Atlantic Conference Six Play-offs, Kwara Falcons tutored by Adewunmi Aderemi, also defeated all five opponents, Police Batons 106-70, Oluyole Warriors 77-67, Customs 84-73, Hoops and Read 78-73 and defeated Rivers Hoopers in the final game. In the Atlantic Conferene, Rivers Hoopers placed second, Hoops and Read third place and Customs fourth. Police Batons and Oluyole Warriors didn’t make the Final 8.
Falcons coach, Adewunmi Aderemi, stated in a post event, that his team will return to training as soon as possible to get the needed fitness for the Final 8. “My dream is to help pick a continental club ticket for the club.
“We shall try our best to win vital games in Kano when the Final 8 begins. We won’t let the Atlantic Conference victory enter the heads of our players, the journey is still far and I believe strongly that, we shall make a very big impact in the Final 8.”