Atlantic Conference leaders in the Kwese Premier Basketball League, Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt will be presented with another chance to stay atop of the pile in a Southern Derby on Thursday.
Delta Force of Asaba will be the guests of the rampaging KingsMen in Port Harcourt as Hoopers look to stamp their authority in a leadership tussle that has become a torpsy-turvy affair between Hoopers and Kwara Falcons.
While it is important that the team maintains its focus and discipline in the midst of impressive results, head coach, Ogoh Odaudu has maintained that they will not underestimate any opponent in their remaining games in the regular season.
There are 8 games left to play in the regular season, 3 of which are at home with the remaining 5 away from home.
Odaudu believes that good defensive play will be a key factor if they have to continue their unbeaten run starting with the game against Delta Force on Thursday.
“We are going to come out and play the way we have played in the past two games, nothing different. Hoopers are not going to underrate Delta or any other team. We are going to come out and play aggressive defense,” he said.
The former national team player also lavished praise on one of his guards, Ikechukwu Benjamin who has been in impressive form since his return to the team.
Ikechukwu missed 7 games all through Round 2 of the Kwese Premier Basketball League to attend to some personal issues but has churned out superb performances in recent games including a team-high points return in their last two games.
“Ikechukwu has been a fantastic addition to the team. He is gradually just picking up, he has not been around for a while, now he has come, he has picked up and his going to keep taking care of business and thats why we brought him here and that’s what he is doing,” Odaudu said.
The Port Harcourt side toppled Kwara Falcons on the Atlantic Conference log following the Ilorin based side’s loss to Customs and Hoopers winning theirs against Hoops & Read last weekend.
The Benue-born coach remains humble in his team’s leadership position as he attributes little meaning to finishing top of the Conference, but rather a better placed finish in the season-ending playoffs.
“Being on top of the table this regular season doesn’t really matter and we still have to go to the conference 6 and it is the placement from the conference 6 that tells your placement in the final 8,” he analysed.
“You can come third, fourth, fifth in this conference and still go to the final 6 and come first, it really doesn’t matter.”
“Basketball-wise it (last weekend’s defeat) shows Kwara Falcons are a beatable side. As it is, we have qualified for the final 6 even if we lose all the (remaining) games. But to boost our confidence, we have to attempt to pick the game in Kwara later this month.” Odaudu concluded.
Rivers Hoopers will host Delta Force on Thursday at the Basketball court on 59, Niger street Port Harcourt at 4pm.