Kano Pillars basketball club were crowned the new champions of the Nigeria DSTV Premier Basketball League on Friday following their head-to-head victory over Union Bank, after both sides finished the national final-four playoff games on same point.
Prior to Pillars’ 71-76 loss to Abuja-based basketball club, Mark Mentors, in a Day 2 pairing of the playoffs, the Kano State basketball team had recorded a 32 games unbeaten streak, capped by their 77-63 win against Dodan Warriors on the opening day of the national final-four- 28 victories in regular season matches and four playoff games wins.
Against Union Bank, who had won against Mark Mentors (75-63) and Dodan Warriors (79-68) in their previous two matches of the final-four, Pillars got off well in the opening quarter, setting up a 29-19 lead.
All efforts to replicate similar feat in the second quarter were strongly countered by their Lagos-based opponents as Union Bank mustered an 18-23 lead in the period. However, Pillars maintained a five point advantage going into half-time with scores settled at 47-42.
Pillars emerged the better team in the third quarter with 26-13 points but again lost the fourth period to a determined Union bank by 13-20 runs.
Kano Pillars eventually claimed victory by 86-75 points to clinch the title while Union Bank settled for silver, Dodan Warriors beat Mark Mentors 79-52 to claim the third spot.
Kano Pillars and Union Bank will represent Nigeria at the Africa Champions Cup Zone-3 qualifiers slated for October 7 through to 15 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars recorded playoffs high of 31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steal; just as the duo of Mathew Onmonya and Dele Ademola contributed 13 points each to seal victory for Kano Pillars who are winning their third domestic title in five seasons (2009, 2010, 2013).