Civil Defenders Basketball Club edged perennial rivals Plateau Peaks 67-65 in a Phase 1 Group C match at the ongoing Mark ‘D’ Ball Men’s Basketball Championship in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the game played at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, the Civil Defenders raced to an early 15-8 lead after the first quarter.
Just as the NSCDC side looked to sustain their momentum in the second quarter, Plateau Peaks also looked to bounce back.
The latter did cut the seven-point deficit for a 29-25 scoreline heading into the third quarter.
It then became a ding-dong affair as the Jos-based team staged a comeback, taking control and totally dominating the third quarter.
They went on to take a massive 10-point lead for the first time in the game, taking it to 50-40 at the end of the third quarter.
However, it was the Civil Defenders who had the last laugh in the final minutes of the game.
They clawed back from the brink of defeat to pip Plateau Peaks by just two points at 67-65 by the end of a nervy encounter.
Efe Adotta was the standout player for the Civil Defenders with 21 points, including seven rebounds, two assists and four turnovers.
Joel Ijiuba scored 10 points, while Ocheibi Okpe and Samson Bolarin added seven points each to ensure the Civil Defenders began their campaign on a winning note.
David Ogedegbe, Coach of Civil Defenders, later told newsmen that patience and unity of purpose were key to the team’s victory.
“The game was tough. We got it right in the first quarter, but lost steam in the second and third quarters.
“But we were indeed lucky to push through with all the strength left in our tank in the last quarter to score five crucial points towards the end of the game which gave us the victory.
“We were able to get this result through patience and the unity of purpose among the players.
“We look forward to our next game against Suleja Bulldogs with the same spirit and determination to win,” he said.
Garba Iriafen, Captain of Plateau Peaks, said his team lost concentration in the crucial part of the match and it caused them the game.
”The game was quite intense. We didn’t start off well, but we came back stronger in the second and third quarters, only to lose our heads in the last two minutes of the game.
”We let our coach and fans down as we lost the game by a narrow margin.
”What is left for us now is to go back to the drawing board and regroup ahead of our next game against Kwara Falcons,” he said.
In other results of matches also played on Sunday, Suleja Bulldogs beat FCT Hardrockers 72-69, Kwara Falcons defeated Niger Potters 77-67, while Nigerian Customs outdunked Warri-based CAMAC 87-66.
NAN reports that the three-month long championship which resumed on Sunday with the Phase 1 Group 2 round of games will end on Saturday.
Five teams will qualify from this for the Round of 16.