Nigeria side, Kano Pillars basketball club began their FIBA Africa zone 3 Championship on a good note as they secured a 76-69 win over Mark Mentors.
The regional tournament serves as Qualifiers for Final Round of the FIBA Africa Champions Cup (ACC) 2017 which will take place from December 11-20 in the Tunisian city of Rades.
Both teams finished the first quarter on a more cautious note as scores stood at 22 points apiece but Kano Pillars opened up a four-point lead in the second quarter with a 16 – 12 points win for a Half-Time score of 38 – 34.
Mark Mentors efforts to turn the table around in the third quarter could only yield a point gain as scores remain 53-50 points at the close of the quarter.
Pillars proved to be the better side in the final quarter with a 23-19 points win to seal their first at the Lagos showpiece.
Pillars Abubakar Usman, the highest scorer of the 2016 edition of FIBA ACC, led the Kano-based side with 21 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds while forward Abdul Yahaya registered a double double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Mark Mentors guard Ochebi Okpe led the scorers with 35 points and 10 rebound. His teammate Charles Osasumwen poured in 10 points, but their effort was not good enough to save their team from defeat.
Talking to FIBA.basketball after the game, Usman attributed the victory to team work and insisted that their main target is to make it the Final Round.
“Our victory over Mark Mentors did not come to me as a surprise because in Pillars we play for each other to achieve a common goal.
“We will take each game as the competition progresses but our ultimate goal is to qualify for the Final Round in Tunisia”.
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