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Mark ‘D’ Ball Championship: Delta Force halts Kada Stars winning run

Delta Force on Wednesday halted Kada Stars winning run, beating the erstwhile Table-toppers 67-63 in a pulsating encounter at the ongoing Mark ‘D’ Ball Men’s basketball championship in Abuja.

The Kada Stars came into the matchday five encounters on a four-game winning streak and looked poised to extend their run in the championship.

However, Delta Force who had lost only one game from their last four had other ideas are they were on the front foot, taking control right from the jump ball.

They completely dominated proceedings in the first half of the game, taking the first and second quarters 22-8, 23-14 to the amazement of spectators and fans at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.

But Kada Stars with their backs to the wall and staring their very first defeat in the face, staged a late comeback as they rallied and stormed back strong into the game.

The young and energetic Kaduna boys narrowed Delta Force’ massive 23-point lead to 11 points at the end of third quarter for a 54-43 scoreline.

They continued to pile the pressure on their opponents in the fourth quarter, further narrowing the lead to just three points 58-55 barely five minutes into the final stretch.

They however had further opportunities to draw level from the free throw line but squandered them and even they also won the quarter 20-13, it was the resilient Delta Force who had the last laugh as they held on for a 67-63 victory.

Peter Udefie was the man-of-the-match after he scored a total of 14 points, including 16 rebounds, one block, two steals and one assist for Delta Force.

Results of other Phase 1, Group 3, Matchday five games also played on Wednesday saw Benue Braves record their first win of the tournament, whipping Bauchi Nets 79-59.

Kano Pillars thrashed Novena Heartlanders 85-48 in a one-sided encounter to maintain their 100 percent record in the tournament.

Also, Bayelsa Waves edged Ogun State-based The Assist Planet (TAP) 65-63 to record their first win of the tournament.

The three-month long championship which resumed on Saturday with the Phase 1, Group three final round of matches will end on Friday.

Five teams each are expected to qualify from each of the three (eight-team) groups for the Round of 16, with the best loser joining the qualified teams.

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 already qualified teams from Phase 1 Group 2.

Phase 1 Group 3 standings after matchday five

S/N TEAM                        P  W L   GF    GA    PTS GD
1.  Kano Pillars                 5   5   0  371   251  +10 +120      

  1. Delta Force                   5   4    1  332   281 +9  +51
  2. Kada Stars                    5   4    1  349   313 +9  +36
  3. Novena Heartlanders  5   2   3  306   360  +7  – 54
  4. Bauchi Nets                  5   1   4  309  345   +6  -36
    6. Bayelsa Waves            5   1   4  256  290    +6  -34 
  5. The Assist Planet       5   1   4  311  351    +6  -40
  6. Benue Braves              5   1   4  348  381   +6  – 33 

Editing by Omotola Oguneye