BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Nigeria failed the defend title after losing 77-65 to host nation Tunisia in the final of the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket Championship on Saturday at Salle Omnisports de Rades.
The D’Tigers won the first quarter 14-8, lost the second and third 17-10, 27-16 respectively while the fourth ended 25-25.
Nigeria captain Ike Diogu, a strong candidate for Player of the Tournament award, was once again the star performer for his team with 20 points and 10 rebounds, the most recorded by any player in the game, while Ziyed Chennoufi was the highest scoring Tunisian with 19 points.
Nigeria couldn’t stop the Mario Palma’s team from winning their fifth straight African title, as their title aspirations required a lot more than being the tournament highest scorer team. The Alex Nwora’s team faced a number of adversities, including a partisan 12,000 capacity crowd at the Gymnasium.
Two years ago – at the same venue – Nigeria lost to Tunisia in the Group Phase, but they responded with four straight victories to win the trophy for the first time-ever while Tunisia finished in Third-Place.