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First Bank slips, still hopeful of successful outing



First Bank is one of Nigeria’s representatives at the on-going African Women Champions Cup holding in Angola.

ALTHOUGH First Bank of Lagos lost its second game in the on-going African Women Champions Cup on Sunday, the team is still hopeful of making good their dream of winning their third title in Angola.

Inter Clube of Angola defeated the Elephant Girls (First Bank) 70-66 on Sunday, a game which the Nigerian team could have won if it had made use of the numerous free throws that came its way. They four quarter ended 14-16, 26-12, 7-24 and 23- 14 to the Angolans.

With three group games still to go, First Bank is expected to pick a quarterfinal ticket at the ongoing championship.
Speaking after the game, First Bank Assistant Captain, Upe Atosu, attributed the defeat to loss of concentration and the inability to score points from the free throw line.

We could have won the game, we had our opportunity in the third quarter, which we won to move into the last quarter in the lead. But we lost concentration in the final moments of the game. Our opponents made more shots than us in the final moments due to turnovers.
“The loss of free throws also contributed to the defeat. In subsequent games, it would be better. We have told ourselves that we must make the free throws count in the subsequent games,” she added.

The point guard who led her team in scoring with 18 points also stated that the new coach has successfully imparted his philosophy to the players despite joining shortly before qualifiers in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
“I can say the coming of the new coach has helped. I just joined the team this year and the former coach has his own philosophy and same for the new coach whose idea and playing style has rubbed off on the team positively.”
She boasted that the Angolans would fall if they met again in the later stages of the competition.
“If we meet Inter Clube again, it would be different because no two games are the same. As it is here, every team is beatable.
“We are not just at the championship to make up the numbers. We are here to play in the final and win the trophy.

However, we are taking each game as they come,” she added.
Meanwhile, Inter Clube coach, Manuel Sossa, has commended the Nigerian team for giving his side a good fight.
“I think the Nigerians did well against my team. They are much better than last year and they gave me a scare when they raced into the lead in the third quarter, but I still believed we could win and that was what happened at the end of the game.
“I must also commend my players for sticking to our game plan and it was important that we defeated First Bank after losing our second game to Ferroviaro of Maputo,” he said.

Sousa also stated that most of the teams were prepared for the championship as shown by the level of competition among them. He also expressed delight that African basketball was on the rise and commended all the teams for their beautiful display so far in the competition.

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