Having lost 2-5 to Team Techvibe—led by Joseph Imeh, Thomas Otu and Aanu Aiyegbusi—in the semifinals in Enugu, Team Leadway Assurance, who are making their debut in the league, had to settle for a third place match against Team Goshen, who fell to the Sylvester Emmanuel-led Team Offikwu in the other semis in Abuja.
The Lagos-based Leadway team brushed aside the disappointment of a semifinals exit to produce an outstanding display of tennis from the beginning, racing to an unassailable 4-0 lead on Thursday, and sealing a third place finish with three matches left to be played in the tie.
33-year-old Abdulmumin Babalola set his team on the front foot with a superb performance against Emmanuel Paul in the 1st Men’s Singles. Babalola, who was simply too solid in all departments, eased to a 6-2, 6-2 victory, while in the 2nd Men’s Singles, Albert Bikom avenged his loss to Uche Oparaoji at the Rainoil Open last month by thumping the lefthander 6-2, 6-1 to keep his team ahead on the day.
Blessing Samuel, who lifted three straight national titles this year, was banked upon to reduce the deficit as she took on Sarah Adegoke in the Ladies Singles. But the 27-year-old couldn’t get to grips with Adegoke’s imposing play as the 21-year-old sprung to a 6-1, 6-1 win to send Team Leadway Assurance 3-0 up.
Leadway would wrap up a resounding 4-0 lead in the Men’s Doubles after Abdulmumin Babalola teamed up with Albert Bikom brilliantly, putting up a rock solid display to beat the duo of Joseph Adim and Emmanuel Sunday 6-4, 6-4.
The Ilorin-based Team Goshen will now finish in fourth place, a better improvement of their last season’s campaign where they failed to get past the round-robin stage.
The 1st Reverse Single, 2nd Reverse Single and the Mixed Doubles, which are now all dead rubbers, will be played on Friday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.