by Olusegun Ikuesan)
Royal Hoopers basketball club of Port Harcourt at the weekend maintain its hold at the top of the Atlantic conference standing of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) organized DStv Premier League with a 66-56 points victory over Union Bank basketball club of Lagos.
Union Bank basketball drew the first blood when captain and guard, Azuoma Dike tore apart the defense of the Hoopers to make an easy lay-up while small forward Paul Okojie added another basket to take the lead to four points to nothing in the opening minutes of the highly tactical game played at the Civic Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Union Bank went on to win the first quarter by 16-11 points to set the stage for a pay-back as the Coach Ogoh Odaudu tutored Royal Hoopers who had the fans behind them turned the table against the Rotimi Savage coached Union bank to win the second quarter by 15-10 points to even scores at half-time 26-26.
The atmosphere became charged at the resumption of play after the second quarter break as Royal Hoopers turned the heat on Union Bank with beautiful combinations from Moses Daudu, Anyebe Ujoh, Musa Usman, Yusuf Abubakar and Ikachi Ochoma who were at the element both offense and defense to open up a 13-point lead going into the last quarter as they won the third quarter by 24-11 points.
Though Union Bank tried all it could muster to cut down the margin with good inside play by its forward Onyeka Ekpete but a step-up by Royal Hoopers forward Victor Anthony who appeared unassuming but very effective and two quick three points from Moses Daudu and Moses Daudu ensured that the home team though lot the fourth quarter by 16-19 points to run away with a final score-line of 66-56 points to take its record to 6-2.
Royal Hoopers forward, Victor Anthony led the floor with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steal and one block-shot. Musa Usman contributed 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Yusuf Abubakar added 11 points and 5 rebounds with point guard Moses Daudu grabbing 9 rebounds and giving 5 assists for their victory.
Hoopers Head Coach, Odaudu says the team is committed to its course of qualifying for the FIBA Africa Championship Zone-III elimination as no team will be underrated in the league.