July 14, (THEWILL) – In their third and final exhibition match before heading to the Summer Games in Tokyo, Nigeria’s Basketball team D’Tigers played Australia, one of their three opponents in Group B of the Olympics, in the early hours of Wednesday to record their poorest result in the preparations so far.
The third-ranked basketball team handed Nigeria a 39-point loss gap at the end of the fourth quarter with a final 108-69 scoreline that represented coach Mike Brown’s first loss since taking over as coach of D’Tigers in February last year.
The two teams came into the exhibition game as the undefeated sides with earlier victories against the highly-rated American and the Argentine teams in the Las Vegas pre-Olympic matches. To emphasise the gulf in quality the Australian side rested their NBA stars in Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova against Nigeria.
The Nigerian charge was led by Josh Okogie and Obi Emegano. They each contributed 10 points to the scoreboard for D’Tigers with high performer against Argentina, Jahlil Okafor, reaching seven points with five rebounds. While Ike Iroegbu also scored seven points, the team was unable to get the upper hand from the start.
The loss to the unbeaten Boomers of Australia quickly brought D’Tigers down to earth after the extremely impressive run they have had during the exhibition series, beginning with their reality-altering victory over basketball powerhouses USA and Argentina.
Six of the Boomers registered double figures with Chris Goulding’s leading 21 points the highlight of the Australian victory. Interestingly, all of Goulding’s points came from a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc as the Boomers knocked down 18 3-pointers on the way to the win
Josh Giddey, who is a 2022 draft prospect of the National Basketball Association (NBA) impressed in the 24 minutes he was given with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in all.
Before the loss, D’Tigers used the opportunity of the match to pay tribute to the late Nigerian singer, Olarenwaju Fasasi, popularly called Sound Sultan, whose death was announced on Sunday after he succumbed to Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a throat cancer.
The all-round entertainer was a known basketball enthusiast from his early years and who continued to play regularly. In 2015, he became a co-owner of the Lagos Islanders, a Lagos-based basketball club founded in 1984. Sound Sultan promoted the sport in Lagos with unrelenting passion that was recognised on the continent.
In his honour, D’Tigers’ filed out for the game with white shirts in which an image of the late Fasasi was imprinted in front and his name behind. They had a moment of silence with the cooperation of everyone in the arena in homage to Sound Sultan’s memory.