Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club who emerged champions of the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers after beating AS Police of Niger 55-34 points on Saturday in Cotonou, have settled well back in Port Harcourt.
The champions who left Republic of Benin unbeaten are already gearing up for the bigger competition – the FIBA AfroLeague playoffs.
Hoopers won all five games against Civil Defenders (Nigeria), Custom Braves of Ghana, Elan Sportif (Benin Republic), Harbel Pointers (Liberia) and AS Police (Niger) respectively.
In the final game Buchi Nwaiwu put up good numbers for Hoopers like other games in the competition. He made 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks while Solomon Ajegbeyi made a double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The KingsMen led from start to finish and kept a huge gap from the first quarter 18-2 which increased to a 26-point lead going to the last quarter. Police put up a good fight in the 4th, outscoring Hoopers 15-10 but it wasn’t enough to turn around the game.
Libidi Tankoano scored 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals for AS Police.
Buchi Nwaiwu who was awarded the Most Valuable Player, was also in the Top 5 alongside Akpatchi Romario (Elan), Dividson Samuel (Harbel), Ijigba Joel (Defenders) and Ali Sulleman (Customs).
Romario was rated the highest scorer, Sulleman won the leader in block shots, Dodli Norberji of Customs was voted the leader in 3-points while AS Police Amadon Abelov was awarded the leader in steals and assists.
Rivers Hoopers, Civil Defenders and Elan Sportif finished first, second and third respectively and qualified for the FIBA AfroLeague in January 2019.
Rivers Hoopers Ogoh Odaudu said there was no easy game in the qualifiers.
“It was a great tournament and every game was difficult in its own way and we won’t say one was easier than the other. Every game had its own peculiar challenges.”