President Cup Championship: Kwara Falcons Pip Niger Potters To Emerge Third-Best Team
By Bolaji Lawal
Kwara Falcons 78, Niger Potters 77
A lackluster second half from the Falcons set the stage for an intense four-quarter battle against Niger Potters during the third place match of the President Cup Championship which ended on Sunday in Lagos.
Kwara Falcons surrendered a twenty one point half time lead to allow their opponent back in the game but consistency from the free-throw line gave them the momentum-building victory towards the last seconds.
The contest started as Kwara made their first three shots of the game which Force Potters Head Coach, Isyaq Halidu to call a timeout after Falcons lead grew to 14-2 with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter which ended 27-14.
Constant communication and sharp offense by the team in yellow saw them went into the locker room with a 53-32 advantage, its largest lead of the night.
Mustapha Oyebanji had 4/10 from the perimeter to score 19 pts, 2 rebounds with 5 assists while David Godwin who had his championship low in the semi-finals clash against Rivers Hooper’s, chipped in 12pts, 3 rebounds and 2 Assists.
The first few minutes following halftime, it looked as if the trend of the fruitful opening two quarters might continue for Falcons but potters fought their way back with physical play on defense which saw them cut the deficit to ten points (65-55).
The tide continue to shift at the Midway point of the fourth quarter. Potters, taking advantage of their size on the glass, grabbed a key offensive rebounds together with a couple of threes to tie the game at 72-72. A series of fouls by Falcons gave Potters an open door at the free throw line where they took advantage to take the lead 75-74 with 1:12 remaining in the quarter.
Going into the final frame, Falcons trailed 76-77 with the momentum rolling in Potters direction but it was going to be the case of who makes the final throw of the dice at the offensive end.
With 0:29 left in the final quarter, Olatunbosun Ajayi drove near potters defense and earns a foul, giving the his side the momentum.
From the resultant free throw, he first knotted the game up at 77 and knocked down the second to move Falcons a point ahead to eventually won 78-77 points.
Lucky Subel finished the game with 21 pts, 5 rebounds and 6 assits for Niger.
During the closing ceremony of the championship, Falcons duo of Mustapha Oyebanji and David Godwin were rewarded for their industrious outing.
Mustapha got the prize for the highest scoring player at the tournament while David was also acknowledged as one of the top shooters.