Nigeria’s D’Tigers, became the first team to secure a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games following their 86-73 points victory over host China in a classification game at the 2019 FIBA Men World Cup.
D’Tigers needed a win over China to go top as Africa’s best team and seal automatic qualification for next year’s Summer Games, and they showed great tenacity to overcome the Chinese team and their more than 9000 cheering fans inside the Guangzhou Gymnasium on Sunday.
The resilient team took the initiative in the second quarter from China who won the first quarter, 21-19 points, as they asserted their authority to end the first half, 35-31 points.
Playing against China, who were also desperate for an automatic ticket from Asia, the players came to the party to clinch the 3rd and 4th quarters, 25-20, 26-22 on the day with 4 players recording double figures.
Josh Okogie dropped 16 points, 3 assists and 5 rebounds to inspire the D’Tigers victory and he was, unanimously, voted as the man of the match. Nnamdi Vincent scored 14 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound.
Ekpe Udoh and Chimezie Metu scored 13 and 11 points respectively as the D’Tigers recorded the highest number of wins (3) in a single World Cup.
Head Coach, Alex Nwora described the win as a sweet victory which was enough to compensate for the team missing out on a place in the quarter-finals.