Nigeria’s men basketball team D’Tigers’ have qualified for the Semi-finals of the 2015 Afro Basketball Tournament after defeating Gabon 88-64 in the quarterfinals and will now face Senegal on Saturday after the Senegalese defeated Algeria 75-58.
D’Tigers’ controlled the game all through just as they did against the Mozambique side, AL-Farouq, Aminu, Michael Umeh and Michael Gbinije combined for 43 Nigeria points as D’Tigers’ controlled most of the contest.
D’Tigers’ outscored Gabon, 23-11 in the first quarter and then made it 26-14 in the second quarter. It was a similar pattern in the third quarter but Gabon rallied to win the fourth quarter 30-16, which made little difference as the Nigerian team cruised to victory.
A day after performing one of the biggest upsets in the tournament so far by eliminating Cape Verde, the Gabonese were unable to oppose Nigeria’s determination to make the last four in the tournament.
Nigeria made it to the semi-finals for the first time since 2011. A feat they achieved in Dakar in 1997 after which D’Tigers’ finished as runners-up in the following two tournaments.
Elsewhere, Senegal left nothing to chance with an impressive 75-58 win over Algeria, while Angola overpowered the Egyptians to an 83-63 win, to advance to the Semi-finals where they will play host, Tunisia.
D’Tigers’ brilliance was well highlighted by Aminu, who led the score chart again with 17 points while his younger brother, Alade grabbed 10 rebounds. Gbinije hit 15 points from 22 minutes of play in the game, with Lagos Islanders player Ben Uzoh grabbing 6 points, 6 assists and 5 steals with Oguchi and Lawal adding 8 and 6 points respectively.
Nigerian star Stan Okoye expressing his excitement and confidence in the Tigers ability to fight all the way said;
“I am very optimistic we can win this thing but we got to take this one step at a time.”
Alade also tweeted after the match, “Another big win, All Glory to God. On the path to making history. Bleed Green.”
The victory puts D’Tigers’ in a strong position to qualify for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics if they are able to overcome Senegal in their next match, a game which will again test the determination of Will Voigt’s men in a winner takes all encounter that will see the dominant side go to the final for the sole ticket of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.