Gombe Bulls Basketball club of Gombe state have emerged the champions of the 2018 edition of Kwese Basketball League after defeating Kwara Falcons 81-67 in the final.
The tension-soaked encounter took place at the Indoor hall of the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano on Monday evening.
Kwara Falcons took the game to the team from the start and by five minutes, they were on 14 points against the Bulls’ 4.
That lead didn’t stand for too long as the Bulls rallied round to take the game to 26-21 at the end of the first quarter.
The inability of the Falcons to let their free throws count was their undoing.
However, they had a better conversion rate in the second and third quarters which made them level proceedings at a point in the third quarter with scoreline at 46-46.
But again, Gombe Bulls would not sit back and with their three-point throws, they led 64-58 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bulls who were also finalists last year, brought their experience to bear to round off the contest in style, running out 81-67 win at the end of the fourth quarter.
Ibe Agu, who led Gombe Bulls’ assault on their opponents, ended up with a whopping 23 points to bag the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the match and tournament.
Speaking to Daily Trust after the match, Agu said the team’s hardwork finally paid off.
While expressing excitement after leading his team to win the championship for the first time, Agu said all the teams were tough.
Agu said: “All the teams were competitive, none was easy but we thank God for strength to see them off. The inspiration from our coach also helped us control our game.”
On his part, Gombe Bulls’ coach, Abdulrahman Mohammed said it was a dream come true to be the country’s champions.
“It’s a project we have been working on in the past few years and we thank God that we are champions now.
“We promised our governor that we will present the cup to him as a parting gift and we are happy we have just done that,” he said.
The Champions bagged a N20 million prize money while N15 million went to Kwara Falcons.
In the third place match decided earlier in the day, Kano Pillars beat Hoops N Read 81-76 to win the third position and pocket N10 million.
The President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, expressed satisfaction with the level of competition through out the season.
He said younger players were coming through, adding that they will go on to make the core of the national team soon.