15 September 2017
By James Ojo and Chidiebere Ejike
Defending Afrobasket champions, D’Tigers of Nigeria on Thursday booked their semi-final ticket at the ongoing 2017 Afrobasket tournament holding in Tunisia.
The Nigerian side hit a century, 106, against Cameroon’s 91 in their quest for another continental glory after winning it in 2015.
D’Tigers captain, Ikechukwu Diogu, led the scorers on the Nigerian side with 28 points, followed by Ikechukwu Nwamu who scored 25 points. Bryant Mbamalu hit 22 points while Akin Akindele followed with 13 points to outscore the much more physical Cameroonians.
Nigeria led the first and second quarters at 25-18 and 27-25 but the Cameroonians fought back to win the third quarter at 27-23. However, the D’Tigers took the game to their opponents in the fourth quarter, running them down with 10 points to win with 31-21 points.
“Everybody here has a chance to win the championship, we are just going to take one game at a time,” Captain of the D’Tigers, Diogu said after the match.
He added: “Cameroon is our next door neighbour. They have the same fighting spirit that we have. They fought until the very end, it is a good team. Their team is much different from the 2015 team, but they played hard.”
Cameroon’s top performer was Benoit Mbala, who scored 32 points, 10 rebounds, one assist and three steals.
Nigeria coach, Alex Nwora admitted the game against Cameroon was a tough one but was satisfied that his players rose from the defeat to DR Congo in their last Group game to win a place in the semi-final.
He said, “We’re taking each game as it comes. Tonight the players were wonderful and understood that pride was at stake.” The Nigeria D’Tigers will now meet Senegal in the semi-finals.