• Ready for Malaysia invitational
Defending champions, Kano Pillars at the weekend won the Kwese Premier League Savannah Conference Six play-offs by winning all their five matches and ending the championship with 100 percent record.
The tournament, which held inside the Indoor Hall of the Murtala Square, Kaduna, between August 14 and 19 had six teams from the Savannah Conference including Kano Pillars, Gombe Bulls, Plateau Peaks, Niger Potters, Bauchi Net and Kada Stars. Bauchi Net and Kada Stars replaced Mark Mentors and Defenders, both of Abuja, which failed to turn up for the competition.
To emerge champions of the conference, Pillars beat hard fighting Gombe Bulls 104 to 97 points in their first game, defeated Kada Stars 91 to 58 points, stopped Bauchi Net 85 to 44 points, beat Niger Potters 103 to 71 points and routed Plateau Peaks 80 to 64 points to maintain an unbeaten run.
Coach of the Kano-based team, Sani Ahmed, described his team’s performance as in line with his club’s desire to retain the trophy at the Final Eight in Kano.
“Winning the Savanna Conference Six shows the level of consistency in the club. It also tells of the amount of hard work put in by the players to winning tournaments,” he said.
Ahmed said the ultimate goal of the team is to retain the Final Eight trophy next month., admitting, “the team is not 100 percent perfect yet. We are still a high scoring side averaging 80 points per game, but we are still going to do more so as to defend and win the Final Eight at home in Kano.
“Our tradition is to win any tournament we find ourselves in. So, we aim to retain the Final Eight. We have noticed some weaknesses and lapses in the course of our games and will work on them before the Final Eight. I noticed the boys sometimes get complacent; but we need to be consistent and more perfect in taking shots.”
The coach also disclosed that the Conference play-offs was part of preparations for his team’s participation in an invitational tournament slated in Malaysia in the first week of September. “Immediately after the play-offs and Final Eight we shall be honouring a fully sponsored trip to Malaysia for an invitational tournament involving teams from Japan, China, Malaysia and other Asian countries. Good enough, we will be prepared because this championship serves as good preparations for the tournament,” he said.
Other teams that qualified from the Savannah Conference Six are Niger Potters, Gombe Bulls and Plateau Peaks.
The Final Eight in Kano will see four teams each from the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences battle for the ultimate prize to climax the Kwese Premier League Season.