Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Hill Side Chiefs Basketball team has won the maiden edition of the 3X3 basketball Championship, organised and sponsored by David Ogbodo, a player and student based in UK.
3×3 basketball (pronounced three-ex-three) is a variation of basketball played three-a-side, with one backboard and in a half-court setup.
According to an ESSEC Business School study, commissioned by the International Olympic Committee, 3×3 is the largest urban team sport in the world.
At the final match, played inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, on Thursday, Hill Side defeated Great eight 13-10 to win.
The champions were rewarded with cheque of N100,000 for their effort while Diala Light won the 3-pointer award and went home with canvass and other items.
Ogbodo said, “I have been to Nigeria three times in the past 25 years, the first time I came, I saw raw talents and not a lot of development were going on then.
“There has been an improvement on the side of the players because the coach and his crew have done a lot of work on the players.
“We know that Nigeria is more of football but with little contribution from individuals, basketball will be at pace with football.
“My plan is to have this kind of competition two or three times in a year, but there are some logistics that needed to be considered and they are not sufficient at my doorstep,” Ogbodo said.
He called on the players to put more effort in their training and always be determined to succeed, noting that there is always room for improvement.
Hill Side captain, Donatus Ohagwu, said he felt excited to have participated in this competition because such competitions do not come often in the state.
“A tournament sponsored by a single person with N100,000 as reward and well organised, so we thank the sponsors and the organisers.
“We pray that God replenishes his pockets so that he will do more so as to keep our dream of one day playing professional basketball alive,” he said.
Ohagwu praised his team for finishing the competition strong.