Rivers Hoopers, yesterday defeated host Elan Sportif 71-63 points at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers in Contonou to become the first team to qualify for the maiden edition of the FIBA AfroLeague in January next year.
The club’s Media Officer Queen John reports that three players finished on double figures for Rivers Hoopers; Victor Koko continued from where he left off on Wednesday scoring 12-point, 10-rebound double double. Buchi Nwaiwu and Solomon Ajegbeyi combined for 20 with 10 points apiece. Ajegbeyi added eight rebounds and one block to go with it.
Elan were a tough nut to crack but Hoopers dug deep to lead by just 6 points at the end of the first quarter 23-17 which was further reduced to 4 points at the end of the second quarter 41-37.
Hoopers forward, ID Ogan buried a 3-pointer midway in the third quarter to give Hoopers a 49-42 lead after the lead was cut to three early in third.
Although, Hoopers were outscored in the last quarter 15-17, they held on for their third win a row despite chants from the home crowd and a late surge from Elan.
The host were led by Romario Akpatchi with 13 points, three rebounds and two assists, Vivien Tossou added 10 points while Arnorld Yacoubou made a double-double 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The KingsMen have now qualified for the FIBA AfroLeague having won three games with two games left to play against Harbel Pointers of Liberia on Friday and AS Police of Niger Republic on Saturday.
Rivers Hoopers head coach, Ogoh Odaudu praised his players for the victory.
“Elan had the advantage, the crowd, it was really a difficult game but I give kudos to my boys they kept their cool, maintained their confidence and at the end of the day they came out with a victory and I am very happy we got this and we are looking forward to the next one,” Odaudu said.
The D’Tigers assistant coach expressed delight at becoming the first team from Zone 3 to qualify for the inaugural edition of the FIBA AfroLeague.