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Mark ‘D’ Ball: Mo’ Heat outdunk FCT Hardrockers, maintain perfect win record

Mark ‘D’ Ball "Elite Eight" encounter

Mark ‘D’ Ball "Elite Eight" encounter

By Victor Okoye

Mo’ Heat Basketball Club on Wednesday out-dunked FCT Hardrockers 79-52 in their opening game of the Mark ‘D’ Ball ‘Elite Eight’ Basketball Championship in Abuja.

The result meant the FCT-based Mo’ Heat clubside maintained their 100 percent win record in the tournament so far.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mo’ Heat are yet to lose a single game in the championship having gone a total of 17 games unbeaten since the start of the championship on Feb. 6.

As expected, the team began the game on the front foot right from the referee’s whistle as they opened up a nine-point lead, taking it 16-7 at the end of the first quarter.

They resumed from where they stopped as they completely dominated the second and third quarters, taking it 37-15, 65-34 as they blew open a massive 31-point lead.

Captain Mustapha Oyebanji was the man-of-the-match as he garnered a total of 18 points, three rebounds, one steal, including a 50 and 44.4 per cent success rate in the two and three-point areas.

Oyebanji combined well with Osagie Bright who also scored 15 points, which included nine rebounds and a 100 per cent success rate from the three-point area.

“I owe my man-of-the-match performance to my teammates. Our game plan was to play and defend very well together as a team.

“We started the game a bit too sluggish for our liking. Even though we won the game with ease, we know ourselves and definitely believe we can perform better on a good day.

“However, this is just the beginning and we will definitely get better with each game.

“Our goal is to take it one game at a time until we get to the finals and we are confident that we will win the championship,” an elated Oyebanji said.

However, the FCT Hardrockers, who unarguably are the youngest and less experienced team in the championship, showed some few flashes of brilliance of their own as they looked to reduce the deficit.

Joel Tham and Captain Aboje Adama were the most outstanding players in the youthful team as they combined for a total of 22 points, including 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals.

But their efforts fell short of expectation as they only managed to cut the deficit to a 27-point lead as Mo’ Heat ran out 79-52 winners at the end of a one-sided derby encounter.

In other games also played on Wednesday, Gombe Bulls defeated Kwara Falcons 60-51, Nigeria Customs beat Delta Force 70-66, while Hotcoal edged Kano Pillars 63-57 at the end of a pulsating encounter.

The championship, which resumed with the ‘Elite eight’ on Wednesday, sees eight teams divided into two groups (four each) with two best teams from each group expected to advance to the semifinals.

The finals will be played on Sunday to determine the winner of the championship. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Idris Abdulrahman