The indoor hall of the National Stadium Abuja lit up by basketball players, administrators, fans and the beautiful cheer leaders. For the first time since 2010, when the first All Star game was hosted by Kaduna, the slam and dunk game made a triumphant entry into the nation’s capital.
In an ebullient display of skills, the Savannah Conference won their third straight DStv Premier Basketball League All Star Game in a tightly contested match to beat the Atlantic Conference 81 -77 points with two-time MVP, Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars and veteran, Stanley Gamut of Mark Mentors leading the charge for the winners.
Interestingly, the Savannah Conference tutored by Sani Ahmed led 31-22 after the first quarter and won the second 26-22 to lead 57-44 at half-time. However, the tide turned in the third quarter, as the Atlantic Conference led by coach Adewumi Aderemi, fought back with a 23-12 point lead, and almost closed out the game after leading 10-7 in the fourth quarter by a 77-76 scoreline with 25 seconds to end the game. But the Savannah Conference proved their mettle and closed out the game by outscoring their opponents.
Speaking after the enthralling matchup, General Manager, Marketing, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, expressed pleasure over the evolution of the All Star game in the country.
“Our commitment towards the game has been consistent. Since its introduction in 2010,, we have held the All Star games, introducing innovation and excitement at every turn. Today was no exception with Supersports beaming the match live to Nigerians. We are here for the long haul and we intend to take the game round the country,” Mabutho said.
The lively occasion also featured the Skills challenge, Slam dunk contest and 3-point shootout competition amongst the players. There were also musical performances by fast rising artiste, Joe El Amadi who thrilled the audience with hit singles like Oya now and serving a living God, while Sekem crooner, MC Galaxy engaged the energetic cheer leaders in a dance battle at half time.
At the end of the All Star Game, Romeo Wilfred emerged as the Most Outstanding Player while Kano Pillars, Dele Ademola won the MVP prize. Lucky Subel also from Kano Pillars won the Slam Dunk Contest with 48 points while Suleiman Owolabi won the Skills Challenge and Akpara Akita of Bauchi Nets won the 3 point contest with 23 points.
Some of the dignitaries who graced the All Star Game include Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong, President, Nigeria Basketball Federation Tijjani Umar, Chairman of the House Committee on Sports, Hon. Bukar Goni Lawal, President of the Nigeria Olympic Commission (NOC), Engr. Sani Ndanusa, amongst others.