Rivers Hoopers finished unbeaten at the first phase of the 2019 NBBF President Cup after beating Nigeria Army Rockets 93-54 in their last Group A game on Friday in Ilorin.
Ikechukwu Benjamin led the way with 18 points, three rebounds, five assists, and two steals to go with it. Benjamin was red-hot from behind the arc as he shot 6 of his 13 three-pointers against Army Rockets.
Abdul Yahaya was one rebound short of a double-double as he scored 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and block in 21 minutes. The former Kano Pillars forward shot 1 of 2 from the deep and 7/7 from the foul throw line.
Victor Anthony contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal in 14 minutes.
Emmanuel Balogun and Simon Owoicho had their own share of contribution with 6 assists each to their name.
The KingsMen dominated from start to finish at both ends of the floor and outscored the Army Rockets in all quarters. They took a 13 point lead into the break and was extended to 24 points at the end of the third quarter.
Anthony Thomas scored a team-high 16 points and five rebounds for Nigeria Army Rockets.
The two teams canceled out each other in the paint 32-32 but it was Hoopers who were superior from the arc 16-of-32 against 3/19 made by Army Rockets and won more points from the bench 44-14.
Rivers Hoopers won all five Group A games against Ondo Raiders, Benue Braves, Lagos Islanders, Police Baton, and Nigeria Army Rockets to finish as group winners and top seed ahead of the final phase.
The final phase of the NBBF President Cup and venue will be communicated to all teams after the competition in Ilorin.
Rivers Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu is not entirely happy with his team’s performance despite finishing with a 5-0 record in Ilorin.
“It’s a good feeling even though I feel we should have played better than we did in our 5 games so its something I am worried about heading towards the final phase. We will definitely go back to work on the things we didn’t do properly.”
Odaudu sees Kwara Falcons, Civil Defenders, and Lagos Islanders as threats to his team but expressed optimism about picking the sole ticket to the Basketball Africa League scheduled for March 2020.