Abuja – Plateau Peaks on Thursday squeezed into qualification for the 2016 DStv Men’s Premier Basketball League Final Eight after stunning favourites Gombe Bulls 68-65 at the Savannah Conference Final Six Playoffs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the fixture at the Abuja National Stadium, Plateau Peaks who lost their opening game at the playoffs made it another close win.
They lost 56-93 on Monday to Kano Piillars, beat Niger Potters 72-68 on Tuesday and lost 59-63 to Mark Mentors on Wednesday, but Thursday’s win put them in good stead.
The top four clubs at the playoffs will proceed to the Final Eight in Lagos, and all was made so tight with the Jos-based Plateau Peaks’ close losses.
Gombe Bulls made it look all lost for them as they took charge of the game in the first quarter with 14 points while Plateau Peaks had nine points.
But the game switched in the second quarter as Plateau Peaks won 25-12 to lead 34-26 at game’s half time.
In the third quarter, Gombe Bulls won 21-15 to close the gap and balance the game on a knife’s edge at 47-49 in favour of the Plateau Peaks.
However, Plateau Peaks did take their foot off the throttle as they won 19-18 to maintain their lead and take the game.
Speaking after the game, Jacqueline Niagwan told NAN she was excited her players secured the final slot for the Final Eight in Lagos.
“My players fought hard to get to where they are today. They were also focused, because they played according to instructions.
“This is because they wanted to win, because this is evident in their performance today and God gave us the match eventually.
“But we will be very happy if we win three matches. However, right now we are okay with our performance,” Niagwan said.
She however pointed out that at the beginning of the competition their challenge was playing against experienced players and having to make lots of corrections.
“Our challenge was playing against experienced players. But at the end of the day we went back to every game to make corrections, and ever since we have been improving in our games,” the coach explained.
NAN reports that the clubs likely to qualify for the Final Eight from the Savannah Conference playoffs are Kano Pillars, Gombe Bulls, Mark Mentors and Plateau Peaks.
Bauchi Nets have lost all their four matches, while Niger Potters lost three matches and won one.
In the other Savannah Conference playoffs match played at the same venue, Kano Pillars beat Mark Mentors 75-68.
The Savannah Conference playoffs will end on Friday, while the Final Eight will hold later this month in Lagos.(NAN)