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Mark D Ball: Nigeria Customs crowned Kings

Nigeria Customs were on Sunday night, crowned Champions of the 2022 Mark D Ball Men’s Basketball Tournament, after inflicting a 61-55 defeat, on new Abuja franchaise Mo Heat, in the final of the Elite 8 tournament, played at the Indoor Sports Hall, located in Package B, of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

D’Tigers player, Ibe Agu who captained Customs contributed 17 points, 2 fewer than his team mate Michael Daramola, whose 19 points was matched by Mo Heat’s top scorer, Bright Akhuetie, while Owen Michael could only manage 13 points, for the Mo Heat, who literarily lost their way in the last quarter.

Going into the finalé watched by a capacity crowd and graced by eminent personalities, including a representative of the minister of youth and Sports Development, Abba Yola, and Directors of Sports from the FCT, Plateau, Niger and Benue; Mo Heats were unbeaten, and favourites to take the title, having already beaten the Customs side, in the build of to the final.

The first quarter was very cagy, and eventually ended 15-15, and even at the end of the 3rd quarter, it was still a tight game at 47 baskets, apiece.

But When it appeared as if there was little or nothing to separate the two sides, Nigeria Customs started the last quarter with more zeal and purpose, pulled away, and eventually were able to hold off a late challenge mounted by
Mo Heats to win the final by 6 clear points.

The Winners, Nigeria Customs got a N2 million cheque, as Prize Money, while the losing finalist, Mo Heat took home N1.5 million.

Kanyinsola Odufuwa top scored with 25, while Wisedom Anyaoha had 17 dunks as Gombe Bulls won the 3rd Place game that preceded the final, by again beating Kano Pillars, 67-62 to take the bronze medal, and N1 million, as prize money.

Meanwhile, Senator Dino Melaye, asked Federal Government & Ministry of Sports to do more to fix the rot in the nation’s Sporting Sector.

Sen Melaye who donated N300,000 for the winners and N200,000 for the beaten finalits of Mark D Ball, rated the championships as “top notch”, and the best basketball competition, in Sub Sahara Africa.

Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi, Editing by Omotola Oguneye