The sponsors of the Nigeria Women’s Basketball League, Zenith Bank, has charged the country’s men basketball team, D’Tigers, to go all the way in the FIBA Men’s World Cup scheduled to start on August 31 in China.
The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said it was important for Nigeria to make impact at the World Cup.
Onyeagwu said: “We have followed the progress of the team, D’Tigers, in the past months and we are urging them to make Nigeria proud in China.
“World Cup is a competition involving the best players in the world and so our players must double their efforts to excel. The country is now big in basketball and so the reputation should get better after this event.
“D’Tigress did well at the World Cup last year and we charge D’Tigers to try and do better in China.”
At the forthcoming FIBA World Cup, Nigeria will compete for honours alongside Russia, Argentina and Korea. D’Tigers’ first match is against Russia.
Meanwhile D’Tigers Head Coach, Alex Nwora has said that the Peak Invitational victory yesterday against Montenegro could never have come at a better time for the team.
Nwora who led the team to its first ever Peak Invitational title in Yangzhou which heralds the FIBA Men’s World Cup said ending their preparation for the World Cup with the victory was very important for the team’s confidence.
“Getting the win against Montenegro who on paper are way above Nigeria is a good step in the right direction. It shows that weeks of training have continued to yield the desired results for us as a team.”
The experienced coach who will be making his World Cup debut alongside all the players left in camp believed that the team has continued to improve which may have caught the attention of their group B opponents.
Despite shooting to an 8-5 points lead in the opening minutes of the game, the team lost the first quarter by 16-18 points against a Montenegro side ranked 28.
Second quarter was no different from the first which saw Montenegro stretch the lead to 8 points with the quarter ending 36-44 points.
Second half took a different turn with master class performances from Ike Diogu, Ike Iroegbu and Jordan Nwora who were desperate to end their World Cup preparation on a winning note.
Nigeria took the lead and held on to it for the better part of the game as Nigeria ranked 33 in the world defeated Montenegro, 89-86 points.
Jordan Nwora led the team scorer’s chart with 19pts while Ike Iroegbu weighed in with 18pts. Captain Ike Diogu contributed 13points as the duo of Ekpe Udoh and Al-Farouq Aminu contributed 11pts and 10 pts respectively.
On Saturday, D’Tigers recovered from a 22-point deficit to force overtime before defeating world number 25, Poland 87-84 points.
During the pre-World Cup preparation, Nigeria (ranked 33) have beaten – Dominican Republic (twice) ranked 18 and Canada (No. 23)