Kano Pillars on Friday defeated Bauchi Nets 77-68 to emerge Group 3 winners in the 2022 Mark ‘D’ Ball Men’s basketball championship in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the result meant that Kano Pillars finished with a 100 percent win record.
They topped the eight-team Phase 1 Group 3 table with 14 points.
In this final game of the group, it all started out as a ding-dong affair at the Indoor Sports Hall of Moshood Abiola Stadium and with Kano Pillars looking eager to extend their winning run.
But it was the Bauchi Nets who were on the foot right from the jump ball as they dominated the first quarter, taking it 17-15.
However, Kano Pillars quickly bounced back into the game with more strength and vigour as they came from behind to take the second quarter 19-10 for a 34-27 half-time scoreline.
Pillars continued from where they stopped as they mounted more pressure on their opponents and extended their lead in the third quarter 24-19 for a 58-46 scoreline.
Bauchi Nets by now had their work cut out for them, but they rallied to a 22-19 win in the fourth quarter to reduce the gap.
Their late effort was however not enough as Kano Pillars held on for a 77-68 victory.
NAN reports that Bauchi Nets with eight points from seven games played finished at the bottom of the table after managing to win only one game.
In other Match Day 7 fixtures, Delta Force walloped Benue Braves 81-56 to claim second spot with 12 points.
Kada Stars with 11 points settled for the third position after suffering a heavy 107- 72 defeat to The Assist Planet (TAP).
Novena Heartlanders defeated Bayelsa Waves 61-57 to also finish with 11 points but slipped to the fourth spot by virtue of Kada Stars’ head-to-head superiority.
Also, Bayelsa Waves with 10 points edged out TAP (who also finished with 10 points) from the fifth and last qualification spot by virtue of the former’s head-to-head superiority.
The Ogun-based TAP side had to settle for the sixth position and will now have to wait to see if they stand a chance of making it to the round of 16 as best losers.
This was after winning three out of seven games with a goal difference of +6.
Benue Braves (-73) and Bauchi Nets (-51) with eight points finished seventh and eight respectively after managing to win only one game each.
Both sides have thus been automatically eliminated from the competition
Five teams each are expected to qualify from each of the three (eight-team) groups for the Round of 16, with the best losers completing the line-up.
Mo’ Heat, Gombe Bulls, Hot Coal Ballers, Nile University Spartans and APA Flames have already qualified from Phase 1 Group 1.
Also, Nigeria Customs, FCT Hardrockers, Kwara Falcons, Suleja Bulldogs and Civil Defenders are the qualified teams from Phase 1 Group 2.
They are now joined by Kano Pillars, Delta Force, Kada Stars, Novena Heartlanders and Bayelsa Waves.
Phase 1 Group 3 final standings
S/N TEAM P W L GF GA PTS GD
1. Kano Pillars 7 7 0 514 376 14 +138
2. Delta Force 7 5 2 469 408 12 +61
3. Kada Stars 7 4 3 472 486 11 -14
4. Novena Heartlanders 7 4 3 437 463 11 -26
5. Bayelsa Waves 7 3 4 417 413 10 +4
6. The Assist Planet 7 3 4 495 489 10 +6
7. Benue Braves 7 1 6 470 543 8 -73
8. Bauchi Nets 7 1 6 441 492 8 -51