Giant-killers FCT Hardrockers continued their fairytale run in the ongoing Mark ‘D’ Ball Men’s basketball championship on Thursday in Abuja, defeating Kwara Falcons 76 – 71 to end the table-toppers unbeaten run.
The result meant FCT Hardrockers moved to the top of Group C table tied on nine points with Nigeria Customs (+60) and Kwara Falcons (+49), but ahead of them by virtue of the head-to-head rule, having defeated both teams.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the more experienced Kwara Falcons came into the game on the back of a four-game winning streak and looked good to stretch their unbeaten run to five games.
They, however, were up against a youthful and energetic FCT Hardrockers who were still basking in the euphoria of their famous win on Wednesday after claiming the scalp of another big giant, Nigeria Customs on Match Day Four.
The trio of David Arum , Favour Adama and John Idoga turned in a classy display as they produced a combined total of 70 points for FCT Hardrockers.
Arum accounted for 28 points, including nine rebounds, two turnovers and one assist, while toast of the tournament Adama scored 24 points, as well as nine rebounds, two turnovers and two assists.
Idoga was also not left out of the action as he scored 18 points, including three rebounds, three turnovers and three assists to his credit.
Kwara Falcons had their work cut out for them as they rallied in the last two quarters, but any thoughts of a comeback were put to rest in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
This was when the FCT Hardrockers were awarded two free throws after the referee had adjudged Daniel Ikhalo to have committed a foul on Idoga.
Idoga duly converted all two from the free throw line to extend FCT Hardrockers lead to five points as the giant-killers took the game 23-15, 19-22, 22-19,12-15 for a 76-71 score line at the end of a pulsating encounter.
“We had a tough time today. My boys were struggling as their legs were tired after overrunning Nigeria Customs yesterday and so we couldn’t play our defensive game today.
“We also faced a young and energetic side that had tall boys and our same capacity who matched us for pace and shot.
“So, it was a bang-for-bang and point-for-point affair,
but thank God at the end of the day we still came out tops.
“We will continue to take it one step at a time with every game as it comes and we are hopeful that tomorrow will be much better than today,” an excited FCT Hardrockers Coach Emmanuel Odah said.
NAN also reports that other results of Match Day Five matches played on Thursday saw Nigeria Customs get back to winning ways, defeating Civil Defenders 77-63 as they maintained their second spot in the log.
Civil Defenders with seven points slipped from fourth to the fifth spot.
Suleja Bulldogs also redeemed their image after their defeat to Kwara Falcons on Wednesday as they bounced back to beat Plateau Peaks 77-66.
The result meant that Suleja Bulldogs cement their position on the fourth spot with eight points, while Plateau Peaks with six points maintained their sixth position on the log.
Warri-based CAMAC record their first win of the championship defeating Niger Potters 70 – 44.
The result meant that CAMAC with six points moved a step from the bottom of the log to the seventh spot switching places with Niger Potters who slipped down to the eight spot.
Also, Nigeria Customs got back to winning ways defeating Civi Defenders 77-63.
This was after the high fliers suffered a shocking 94-84 defeat to a youthful FCT Hardrockers clubside in a Match Day Four encounter on Wednesday; a result which abruptly ended their three-game winning run.
The three-month long championship which resumed on Sunday with the Phase 1, Group two round of games is expected to end on Saturday.
Five teams will qualify from the eight-team group for the Round of 16.
They will join the likes of Mo’ Heat, Gombe Bulls, Hot Coal Ballers, Nile University Spartans and APA Flames who have already qualified from Phase 1 Group 1.
Phase 1 Group 2 standings after four matches
S/N TEAM P W L GF GA PTS GD
1. FCT Hardrockers 5 4 1 406 364 9 +42
2. Nigeria Customs 5 4 1 342 282 9 +60
3. Kwara Falcons 5 4 1 367 318 9 +49
4. Suleja Bulldogs 5 3 2 344 354 8 – 10
5. Civil Defenders 5 2 3 331 347 7 -16
6. Plateau Peaks 5 1 4 334 355 6 -21
7. CAMAC 5 1 4 340 380 6 -40
8. Niger Potters 5 1 4 313 390 6 -79
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