…Emilagba, Ishambuk named MVPs
The inaugural Eko Basketball League, EBK, came to a conclusion on Sunday at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere. First Bank Basketball club defeated Dolphins 58-46 in the women’s final while Hoops and Read Basketball club owned by the former national team, D’Tigers captain, Olumide Oyedeji held off Raptors 79-67 in a nerve-racking men’s final.
The EBL women’s most valuable player, Mary Isambuk led First Bank with 14 pts and Marilyn Ogoigbe added 13 points in a game where Dolphins were limited to playing catch up for the entire 40 minutes duration of the match. Dolphins’ Cynthia Gbihi led all scorers with 17 points and 3 assists in the losing effort while teammate Basirat Animashahun added 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals to complete the quartet of players who finished the game in double digits.
On the men’s side, Hoops and Read held off a stiff challenge from the coach Charles Ibezieakor led Raptors who kept a very close game and led three times until a 4th quarter breakdown in the last two minutes of the game.
Most Valuable Player of the league, Bolaji Emilagba led all scorers with 15 of his total 27 points from 3 point range, adding four rebounds and four assists.
Teammate Komonibo Victor scored 19 points, and seven assists, Oriakhi Owen added 10 and a double-double from Aliu handed 12 points and 10 rebounds ensured Hoops and Read emerged winners of the inaugural Eko Basketball League ahead of Raptors who had Stephen Okoro and Abel command some respect from their opponent despite the loss.
Chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association, Ms Barbara Atinuke Harper eulogised all the basketball stakeholders in Lagos for a successful season which lasted seven months with over 150 games.
“I would love to appreciate everyone who has been a part of this long journey that started six months ago with over 150 games in the women and men’s category, especially the board, the teams, the officials and other stakeholders”.
“Like our commitment when we first came on board, we revamped the dead Lagos State city league with the Eko Basketball League, adding the Women’s competition for the first time. We will continue to push the frontiers of basketball development in Lagos State with both elite and grassroots programmes. This is the beginning for us.”
The Molade Okoya Thomas Hall was packed full in the final with dignitaries like the Director-General of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Oluwatoyin Gafar; legendary National Basketball coach and former Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Council Mr Agboola Pinheiro, Nigeria Olympic Committee Secretary-General, Mr Banji Oladapo; Chairman Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos chapter), Mr Debo Oshundun; Chairman Lagos State Basketball Veterans Club, Alhaji Yaro amongst others in attendance.