Gombe Bulls basketball club coach, Abdulrahman Mohammed is still relishing his side’s conquest of the National Handball Premier League in Lagos, but admits they got a scare from Kano Pillars in the semi-finals.
The coach was happy that Gombe Bulls defeated Kwara Falcons 81-67 to win their first league title, but said the final was not as difficult as the challenge they faced from Kano Pillars in the semi final on Saturday.
Abdulrahman said his side knew that beating Pillars had three things up for grabs – a continental ticket, chance to win a maiden title and pride.
Bulls hung on in the last minutes to eventually win 66-63, and recorded a third victory over Pillars this season.
Kano Pillars have won 7 of the last 11 titles since 2008, but only lost the 2011 semi final and 2012 final to Rivers Hoopers and to Mark Mentors in 2015, before dropping the 2018 semi final to Gombe Bulls.
The former assistant coach of the male national team, D’Tigers said he is happy to end Pillars’ dominance; but admits it took him and his players a lot of time and hard work.
He added that beating Pillars in the epic semi-final was enough of a real and necessary motivation to overcome Falcons in the final.
Abdulrahman expatiated: “The game with Kano was more difficult than the final against Kwara Falcons.
“In the years to come I don’t think we would face a tougher challenge like that of the Kano Pillars.
“I don’t think in the years to come we would face a team with so much experience, star studded players, and a team winning back to back titles.
“If I tell you the number of sleepless nights that I had just simply going through few tapes and how to neutralise their strength.
“They have a team packed with so much experience and have players that have played in the national team.
“It is always difficult to scout them so when we checked these guys, I knew all will be well.
“Anytime we come close beating Pillars, they always come out on top of us. It’s usually one second, one minute (due) to lack of concentration or 10 to 15 seconds of mistake.
“They have been like a dynasty and been there for years we just ended it. We have been able to figure that out and beat them this year. (That’s why) it’s probably the best achievement.”