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Olusegun Ikuesan

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Teams to play more games as the NBBF releases new Premier Basketball League format - Apr 6, 2017


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Ogoh Odaudu
Traditionally, the male premier basketball league tips off around March and spans for about four to five months with each team playing a total of 14 games in regular season (7 home games and 7 away games). Last season, the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) had to improvise as there were only 5 teams in the Atlantic Conference. This saw teams play the same opponent twice a week leading to a total of 16 games for the regular season for the affected Atlantic Conference teams. However, the NBBF is making a huge jump from previous years by announcing a total of 28 regular season games for the 2017 Season of the Premier Basketball League. There will be four rounds of action in regular season with each team playing against all the other teams in the conference in each round. At the end of the four rounds, each team would have played 2 home and 2 away games against every other team each respective conference. In the past few years, basketball stakeholders have expressed displeasure over the few number of games in the league arguing that it is not enough for the development of the players, the teams and the league as a whole. This move from the NBBF will be the first time in recent years that the teams will have a sizable number of games and the reaction from club representatives is as expected. "This is a good one. It is good for the players and teams. With the number of games, players now have enough time to understand themselves, master their plays and perform better. Teams can also properly for the season, come up with revenue generating ideas and increase fan attendance. The grand finale is in September which means the top two teams that will represent the country at the continental championship won't be rusty when its time for qualifiers" - Azeez Bello, Secretary of the Kwara State Basketball Association. In the news bit released by the Rivers Hoopers, the Head Coach Ogoh Odaudu also expressed his delight with new format. 'It is way better than what we had last season because we are playing more games, the more the games the better it is. By the time the players are getting into form, that's when they find out the games are over after playing 16 games in the regular season. But with 28 games, you have lots and lots of opportunity to correct all your wrongs that you may find. If it were to be more than that, it would have been better but we will make do with what we have right now' Not all teams pay their players all year round. A number of them pay only for the duration of the league. With this 2017 format, such players get to earn to little bit more. Making it to the Final Eight Playoffs gives them an additional month's pay including other allowances and match bonuses. Although, this is a good initiative, it can get better. What we would like to see is for games to be played across conferences. Teams from the Atlantic Conference need to travel to the Savannah to play teams there and vice versa. Not only will this increase the number of games to 30, it will also increase the competitiveness and fan experience. The Conference Six Playoffs and the Final Eight are played in Lagos. So the Savannah fans never get to see the Atlantic teams play and the Atlantic teams do not get the opportunity to host the Savannah teams in their home court. Coach Odaudu feels the same way; "I would have preferred more games like we had 8 or 9 years ago when the road trip was in existence where you have to go to the Savannah Conference and still play all the teams there. It would have been better if we had opportunity to face the teams in the Savannah Conference before the final. I am hoping they will work on it in the near future and the road trip will be reintroduced.'
The 2017 calendar is as follows;
Regular Season - April 13 to August 5 2017
All Star Weekend - June 17 2017
Conference Six Playoffs - August 14 to 18 2017
Final Eight - September 4 to 9 2017
Championship Game - September 9 2017.
Courtesy of: bballnaija.com   




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