By Victor Okoye
John Idoga on Tuesday helped FCT Hardrockers to secure their second consecutive win as they stung Civil Defenders 67-54 in the ongoing Mark ‘D’ Ball Men’s basketball championship in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Idoga had 85.7 per cent success (6/7) from the two-point line as well as 33.3 per cent (1/3) from the three-point line, scoring a total of 23 points for the FCT-based clubside.
His contribution included four rebounds, four assists and three turnovers, combining well with teammate David Arum who himself had 17 points, including 15 rebounds, two assists and six turnovers.
The FCT Hardrockers were on the front foot from the blast of the referees’ whistle and never relinquished their lead from the first to the last quarter.
They took it 19-15, 12-12,19-14 17-12 with their opponents only managing to draw level in the second quarter.
Hardrockers were also very defensive, relying mostly on the rebounds to inflict damage on their opponents.
They had a total of 30 offensive rebounds right under their opponents basket with most of them converted, including a last minute huge dunk off pass from Arum that ensured the Hardrockers finished with a massive 13- point lead.
On the three-point line, the Civil Defenders had a 19 per cent conversion rate, attempting 31 shots and scoring only six, while their opponents with a 30 per cent success rate attempted 20 shots and converted six.
The NSCDC side were, however, better in ball control as they had a total 26 turnovers and 14 steals as against 29 and 11 by the FCT Hardrockers.
Emmanuel Odah, Coach of FCT Hardrockers, told NAN afterwards that the game was a tough, admitting that his team made too many mistakes but still came out victorious because of their determination to win.
“To be very sincere, we weren’t at our best today but because of our spirit to win we had to convert most of our mistakes.
“Yes, we won, but for me winning is not everything. The process is better than result. So, if you look at the process, sometimes you might lose but the process is good.
“That’s why I told you about the first match that we lost. I enjoyed that game better because my team played so well, the departments were all good but we lost by (I won’t say luck), maybe divine providence.
“Truly, our game today was a matter of team spirit and not skills anymore as we had to psyche the boys up to play due to some circumstances surrounding the game,” he said.
The FCT Hardrockers’ win, which saw them extend their winning run to two games on the bounce, was just one of the shocking victories that livened up match Day Three.
Results of other matches played on Tuesday saw the Niger Potters end a two-game losing streak as they pulled off an upset against Suleja Bulldogs, out-dunking the favourites 77 – 69 in a pulsating encounter.
Plateau Peaks losing run continued as the Jos-based team who have yet to register a win in the championship lost their third straight game 64-73 to high fliers Nigeria Customs.
Also, Kwara Falcons stretched their winning run to three games in a row as they beat CAMAC 77-64 to pile more misery on the Warri-based side who have yet to register a win in the championship.
The result meant that Nigeria Customs (+70) and Kwara Falcons (+32) who remained unbeaten with three wins from three games played so far maintained their position on the top of Group 2 table.
They have six points each and are placed first and second, respectively.
FCT Hardrockers (+27) and Suleja Bulldogs (+1) with two wins from three games switched places in the table with the former moving up to the third spot, while the latter dropped to the fourth spot after their winning run came to an end.
They have five points each, but FCT Hardrockers have a more superior goal difference.
Civil Defenders (-13) and Niger Potters (-42) are fifth and sixth respectively with four points each having won one game and lost two.
The Minna-based team were the biggest movers, leaping from the bottom of the table after recording their first win, while the NSCDC side maintained their position on the log after their second consecutive loss.
Plateau Peaks (-21) and CAMAC (-55), with three points each after recording no wins so far in the competition, are seventh and eighth respectively.
Five teams will qualify from the eight-team group for the Round of 16.
They will join the likes of Mo’ Heat, Gombe Bulls, Hot Coal Ballers, Nile University Spartans and APA Flames who have already qualified from Phase 1 Group 1.
Phase 1 Group 2 standings after three matches
Phase 1 Group C standings after three matches
S/N TEAM P W L GF GA PTS GD
1. Nigeria Customs 3 3 0 258 188 6 +70
2. Kwara Falcons 3 3 0 225 193 6 +32
3. FCT Hardrockers 3 2 1 236 209 5 +27
4. Suleja Bulldogs 3 2 1 218 217 5 +1
5. Civil Defenders 3 1 2 196 209 4 -13
6. Niger Potters 3 1 2 202 244 4 -42
7. Plateau Peaks 3 0 3 190 211 3 -21
8. CAMAC 3 0 3 209 264 3 -55