Kwara Falcons head coach Baba Jibril has said that his team will be better prepared in their next appearance at the Basketball Africa League.
Falcons finished the Sahara Conference of the 2023 BAL without a win after a 79-76 defeat to Abidjan Basket Club Fighters in their last game on Monday.
It was a time for reflection for Jibril who led the team to victory in the last three tournaments held in Nigeria.
Kwara Falcons won the Sam Oguche Bullet Energy tournament and the NBBF Final 8 tournament in November 2022 and the Louis Edem Invitational tournament last month.
”We are going to prepare better next time and if we still have this same crop of players, the experience they have gotten from this one is going to go a long way and we won’t repeat same mistakes we made here.”
The Nigerian representatives kept the game very close, outrebounded ABC 52-35 and gained more points from offensive rebounds 18-9.
From a 7 point deficit going to the fourth quarter, Falcons turned the game around and led by 7 (76-69) with 1:43 remaining to play.
ABC’s center Chris Obekpa fouled out in what could have been an advantage for the Falcons but ABC made a 10-0 run in the last minute of the game.
”My players gave their all they just lost concentration towards the end of the game. They are human and mistakes do happen. I am sure we manage the game better next time,” said Jibril.
Kwara Falcons turned the ball over twice, committed offensive fouls and missed free-throws in the last minute while Chudier Bile of ABC scored 8 points including 2 three pointers late in the game to deny Falcons their first BAL victory.
”Its a young team and if there is an opportunity to come back we will do better.”
Bile led all players in scoring with 24 points, and Alex Robinson Jr., the other ABC to score in double figures, contributed 13 points.
For Falcons, Anthony Wilson Jr scored 15 points, Jeremiah Mordi added 14, Jawad Adekoya had 12 and Michael Oriakhi contributed 10.
While Kwara Falcons finished a 0-5 mark in their debut season, fellow debutants Abidjan Basket Fighters who improved to a 3-1 mark have earned a spot in the playoffs and will face Stade Malien on Tuesday, March 21 for their last game of the Sahara Conference.