Former league champions, Comets of Lagos and Yelwa Hawks of Bauchi have been relegated from the top flight of Nigerian basketball league sponsored by DStv, while newcomers, Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan, against all odds, booked a place in the top four playoffs in the Atlantic conference.
After the completion of all 28 matches in the regular season, both Comets and Hawks finished at the bottom of the standings in the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences respectively.
The coach Ayo Bakare-owned Comets won 9 games and lost 19, while Bauchi State-based Hawks triumphed in a single match in the season and lost a massive 27 games.
While the demolition of Hawks to the lower league might not come as a surprise to followers of the domestic league, that of Comets, coached by experienced national team’s handler, Ayo Bakare, came as a rude shock to pundits of the sport.
Apart from being a former champion of the league and could boast of a massive track record in continental championships, Comets were among the few teams pundits had tipped as favourites to win the just ended season going by the quality of their coaching crew.
Going into the last match in the Atlantic Conference between Oluyole Warriors and Police Baton in Lagos played on Wednesday inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, Comets with a total of 40 points needed Warriors to defeat the Police team, who also had 40 points before the match, to survive being relegated to the national league.
But against their wish, the Police team defeated the Oluyole Boys, as Warriors are popularly by 65-46 points to secure their place in the top flight league and condemned Comets to relegation.
For Hawks, their relegation in the Savannah Conference this season has been long overdue because they barely survived being demoted last season.
Meanwhile, despite their defeat against the Police team in the last match of the regular season, Oluyole Warriors have qualified for the Atlantic Conference playoffs holding from 6-9 August at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The coach Yemi Abiodun-led Warriors bagged 43 points, one ahead of the defending champions of the league, Royal Hoopers to make the top four playoffs in the first season of gaining promotion to the top league.
Four teams, Kano Pillars, Mark Mentors, Plateau Peaks and Niger Potters would today begin battle in the Savannah conference playoff in Kano.
Two teams would qualify from each of the conferences for the national top four playoff billed to take place in Lagos later in the month.
Source: PM News
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