CALABAR (South-South 3X3 Basketball Tour, Nigeria) – Calabar, the capital of Cross River State of Nigeria, played host to the 2nd edition of the South-South 3X3 Basketball Tour. The event set the stage for the annual Calabar carnival with plenty of action as the Amazon Girls of Delta State retained their title in the women’s category.
The three other categories which comprised the U18 boys and girls and the senior men’s witnessed the emergence of new champions. The U18 girls trophy went to AK Flames of Akwa Ibom who defeated Patriots of Bayelsa (4-3) thanks to MVP Ifunaya Linda Ijeh.
Blazers of Cross River were propelled by MVP Emmanuel Ununke and defeated Blue Flames of Port-Harcourt (14-7) to lift the U18 boys trophy.
However, it was the senior men’s final that brought the crowd on its feet as the Waves of Bayelsa and Light Bearers of Rivers State were tied at 12 at the end of regulation. In overtime with the first team to score two points getting the trophy, it was Light Bearers that took the initiative making the first basket. However their joy was cut short with a heart-breaking shot from outside the arc courtesy of Roland Alalibo.
The Waves team which comprised of Hilary Aigbokhaode, Chigozie Udeh, Okpe Ibrahim and Roland Owas Alaliboh were rewarded with the giant trophy and a cash prize of N100,000.
The event which drew many dignitaries including the FIBA Africa Zone Three President Sam Ahmedu, initiator of the South-South 3X3 Basketball Tour Musa Kida, Shehu Yusuf, Citizen Giwa Daramola, Andrew Isokpehi as well as Cross River State functionaries among others.
In the slam dunk contest, Emmanuel Ekpo of Cross River came tops; Uju Nweke (Amazon Girls) won the shoot-out contest for women while Roland Alalibo came tops in the men's category.
In addition to the various prizes, the AMK Foundation gave out balls to encourage the game at grassroots level.
According to Musa Kida, the reason behind the gesture is to keep players busy at all times: "The players need not be left to idle away when there is no competition. With these balls, it means that they can be busy instead of drifting away in the streets."