The two semi-final matches of the 2018 Kwese Premier Basketball League season hold at the Indoor Sports Hall of Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, today.
Group A leader and defending champion, Kano Pillars basketball club, will take on Group B runner-up, Gombe Bulls basketball club in the first semifinal match, at 4pm, while Group B winner, Hoops & Read of Lagos, battles Atlantic Conference champions, Kwara Falcons of Ilorin in the second match, at 6pm. Pillars, led by prolific scorer, Celestine Nwafor, who poured in 20 points and 13 rebounds, won all their group games and recorded the highest point margin defeat of Anambra Flames by 98-68 points to top group A.
Its semi-final opponent and last year runners up, Gombe Bulls, posted an impressive two record victories over Customs (90-73) and Bauchi Nets (66-64), but lost narrowly to Hoops & Read of Lagos by 79-81points.
Today’s semifinal match would be a rematch of Savanna Conference playoff opening game where the youthful Gombe team ran a fast break pattern repeatedly and opened a seven-point gap within five minutes at 14-7 against at their perennial northern rivals, Kano Pillars.
The first quarter ended 21-16 in favour of the Bulls but poor shooting robbed Kano of chances of catching up with the Bulls. The bulls dominated the game from start to finish in every department, winning every quarter.
The highest scorers on the Gombe team in the encounter were Abdulwahab Yakubu 21 points; Sylvannus Yakubu, 13 and Okiki Afuwape, 13 respectively. The Savanna Conference winners would rely heavily on the trio’s prowess to give Pillars runs for their money in their own backyard.
The second semi-final match between Hoops & Read and Kwara Falcons have been described as battle of titans considering their pedigree in the league as teams that possess some of the best players on the local scene.
Hoops & Read of Lagos emerged the first team to qualify for the Semi-Finals of the Final 8, and also the first among the eight clubs in Kano to score 100 points in their game. The fluid playing pattern of the team saw five players scoring above 12 points each in their 101 – 67 defeat Customs of Lagos. Daramola Michael netted 12 points, while the trio of Babajide Ogunsemore, Moses Okpoye and Emeka Ajaegbe netted 14 points each, with Owen Orikhi making 18 points. The Olumide Oyedeji-motivated team won all four quarters at 25-19, 54-31, 83-48 & 101-67.