D’Tigers Head Coach, Alex Nwora says the Invitational victory on Sunday against Montenegro was very important for the team’s confidence.
Nigeria won the invitational title in Yangzhou, which heralds the FIBA Men’s World Cup on Saturday, 31st of August and Nwora insists it couldn’t have come at a better time for the team.
“Getting the win against Montenegro who on paper are way above Nigeria is a good step in the right direction. It shows that weeks of training have continued to yield the desired results for us as a team,” the Head Coach said.
Making his World Cup debut in China the Nigeria Coach believes the team’s improvement can’t go unnoticed by their group opponents.
In the game on Sunday, despite shooting to an 8-5 points lead in the opening minutes of the game, the team lost the first quarter by 16-18 points against a Montenegro side ranked 28th in the world.
The second quarter was no different from the first which saw Montenegro stretch their lead to 8 points, with the quarter ending 36-44 points.
Resumption of the second half took a different turn with a classic performance from veteran Ike Diogu and the likes of Ike Iroegbu and Jordan Nwora, who were desperate to end their World Cup preparation on a winning note.
Nigeria, ranked 33, took the lead and held on to it for the better part of the game to defeat Montenegro, 89-86 points.
Jordan Nwora led the team’s scoring sheet with 19pts, while Ike Iroegbu weighed in with 18pts. Captain, Ike Diogu contributed 13pts as the duo of Ekpe Udoh and Al-Farouq Aminu contributed 11pts and 10 pts respectively.
On Saturday, D’Tigers recovered from a 22 point deficit to force overtime before defeating World number 25, Poland 87-84 points.
During the pre-World Cup preparation, Nigeria have also recorded wins over the Dominican Republic (ranked 18) and Canada (ranked 23).
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