FIBA Zone 3 Opener: ASPAC Humbles MFM, Coach Optimistic Of Improvement

FIBA Zone 3 Opener: ASPAC Humbles MFM, Coach Optimistic Of Improvement

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By Agency Report

ASPAC coach, Adognon Landrey, stated that his team capitalized on MFM’s complacency to secure a significant victory in their initial match at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Women Qualifiers held in Abuja.

Emphasizing that they remained focused despite the crowd, the coach acknowledged the calibre of their opponents and highlighted that being underrated actually worked in favour of his team.

“We didn’t let the crowd distract us. As a continental team, we’re back on our home turf. In sports, it’s not over until it’s over, and that resilience was our strength in the game. Despite being underrated, we’re making our mark.”

Team captain Somakou Marlene said, “We thoroughly studied MFM, identified their weaknesses, and plan to capitalize on them. We weren’t intimidated and adhered to our coach’s instructions.”

In contrast, MFM coach Okworogwu Ochuko admitted during the post-match conference that her team allowed ASPAC to regain momentum by not defending well in the last two quarters as they did in the first two. Despite the defeat, she expressed optimism about her team bouncing back in the next game.

“In the first half, our strategies were effective. However, in the second half, we deviated from what was working for us initially. The players recognized this issue, and our opponents capitalized on it, particularly in defense.

Defensively, we overloaded one side, resulting in vulnerabilities in our backline. Our opponents seized this opportunity. Now that we’ve identified these mistakes, we’re committed to correcting them in our upcoming match. The defeat, though disappointing, is not the end as none of the three teams have secured qualification yet. We’re all competing for the two available slots. It’s an open competition, and I believe we can still turn it around.”

Team captain Okoh Ukamaka echoed her coach’s sentiments, emphasizing that “it’s not over until it’s over.”

“As my coach mentioned, we abandoned the strategy that was effective for us, and defensively, there were shortcomings. Our communication faltered, unlike in the first half, leading to our downfall in the second half. However, we are determined to come back, better and stronger.”

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