Twenty basketball academies featured in the just-concluded Lagos Youth Alive Basketball League which has been described as successful by the sport’s enthusiasts.
Although 20 teams from the academies started the competition, only 16 made it to the Grand Finale where increased passion for basketball was displayed.
The event held from May 26 and ended on May 29 at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Center, Rowe-Park in Yaba. The grand finale which is the product of the regular season, held from February to April to determine teams in the round, had no fewer than 816 participants.
The participants who were categorised in the U-12 boys, U-16 boys, U-19 boys and U-19 girls will forever be proud of the excitement it brought to them.
They will also be thankful to the organisers, Deepbond Global Sports Initiative and the Lagos State Basketball Association and the sponsors, Honeywell Flour Mills Nigeria Ltd.
Dodan Academy defeated Dodan Warriors Academy 28-16 to emerge champions in the U-12 boys’ category, while Raptors Academy humbled Deepbond 29-21 to clinch first place in the U-16 boys’ category.
Police Rookies beat Dodan Warriors 19-18 in a low-scoring but well contested game to top the U-19 boys’ category. In the only girls’ category, Hope for Girls Academy defeated Topfield Academy 23-22 to reclaim their 2015 title in the U-19 category.
Some of the coaches and other enthusiasts said that they believed that the junior league would continue to develop and produce future champions.
They also called for more private sponsorship as the league was a model for other states in the federation to emulate for the development of the sport.
Coach Charles Ibeziakor of Raptors Academy whose team won the U-16 boys category, said “We are proud of the league, it is worthy of all praises, I don’t think there is any sport right now that organises a three month league for its sportsmen and women. We can train the players on how to play basketball but we can only assess what they know when they play competitive games as provided by the league. Indeed we have everything to be thankful for the organisers in making our efforts less cumbersome.” Ibeziakor said.