Royal Hoopers of Port-Harcourt, the defending champions, DStv Men’s Basketball League, on Saturday in Lagos successfully retained their title at the end of 2011/2012 season.
Hoopers defeated former three-time champions of the league, Kano Pillars, 62-51 at the final to retain its title.
Fans at the In-door Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, venue of the competition, were thrilled to an exciting final match.
The defending champions took the first two quarters of the final match at 19-17 and 19-10 respectively.
Pillars however rallied from behind in the third set to narrowly claim the set at 11-10.
Hoopers mustered courage in the fourth and last quarter and also narrowly took the set at 14-13 to emerge the champions.
Dodan Warriors of Lagos defeated Lagos slanders 78-71 to emerge the third placed winners.
Hoopers went home with a cash prize of N1 million and a trophy, Pillars took N750,000, while Warriors received N500,000 and with a trophy each.
Pillars Adele Ademola emerged the highest re-bounder, Hoopers Kingsley Aguara was named the MVP, while Abubakar of Usman also of Pillars was the highest scorer.
The champions and runners-up would represent Nigeria at the Africa Club Championship later in the year.
Coach Ogoh Odaudu of Hoopers expressed delight on his team’s successful defense of its title.
“Our defense has finally confirmed us as the real champion, it was a rough start from the beginning but we are able to retain our title with determination,” Odaudu said.
He said that the club was faced with some financial challenges during the regular season which accounted for their low performance at the beginning of the season.
“I am happy we overcame the problems that affected our performance during the regular season. Thank God we are able to retain our title.
“It was not an easy fight to get to the final and win the title, because every team at the Final Eight is a potential winner,” Odaudu said.
Coach Ibrahim Maku of Pillars blamed their loss on too many mistakes made by his player during the final match adding that it was also a bad day for his team.
Maku who described Hoopers as a good team added that the winners made good use of every opportunity to make good basket.
The coach denounced insinuation that the ongoing fasting affected his players’ performance noting that his players after all won their preliminary and semi-final matches fasting.