Headline Imo News Nigeria Sport

Mark D Ball: Novena Heartland beefs up team ahead of round 16

The Management of Novena Heartland Basketball Club of Owerri says it is looking to beef up its team, ahead of Round of 16 phase of the 2022 Mark D Ball Men’s Basketball Championship, to be staged in Abuja.

CEO & Proprietor of the Club, Osita Nwachukwu stated this while reviewing the sides performance, in the last qualifying phase of the Championship, which he said was the biggest tournament, his players have been exposed to.

Nwachukwu, who is a Factional NBBF Vice President, also hinted that he may go for a Centre and Shooting Guard, who are Americans, but of Nigerian descent.

“I also own Novena Queens, which is the women’s basketball team. Through both teams in Owerri and Abakiliki we have discovered a good number of talents in the South East. But coming to play in Abuja was a good step up. It gave the guys good exposure”, he said.

Speaking exclusively to Radio Nigeria Sports, Captain of Novena Heartland, Chinedu Precious Asogwo rated his side’s participation at the preliminary phase of Mark D Ball as the toughest competition the side has played.

The 15-year-old who stands at 6ft 5 Inches, also assured that they will work on their strength and stamina, while consolidating on the strong points that aided their qualification to the Round of 16.

Having been hired last year, Coach Achu Kingsley Kelechi said his passion lies with working with relatively unknown players, and that gives him more joy to help nurture them to stardom. According to him, he shuttles between Owerri and Abakaliki, where the team operates two training camps.

“Until this Mark D Ball championship, we did not have much to train for; this tournament exposed us to the real thing”, Darlington Marvelous Chukwuebuka, the Shooting Guard who scooped the award of MVP in the team’s last match said.

According to the Alvan Ikoku College of Education Owerri undergraduate, he is happy for the opportunity to play for Novena Heartland, and hopes to use the platform, to achieve his goal of playing at the top level, at home and abroad, as a professional.

Aside Heartland, fifteen other teams have qualified for the Round of 16.

Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; editing by Muzha Kucha