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Nestlé MILO Basketball Championship: Bayelsa maintains Atlantic Conference dominance

ST. JUDE’S Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has qualified for the finals of the MILO Secondary Schools Basketball Championship for the 10th consecutive time.

The school has dominated the
Championship, now in its 23rd edition, since 2010, emerging as winners seven times in the last eight years.

At the Atlantic Conference in Asaba recently, St. Jude’s Girls defeated DomDomingos College Warri, Delta State 14-12 to secure their place in the finals.

Coach Tony Nelson revealed the secret of his school’s success, citing the desire for continuous improvement.

“We have been working so hard back in Bayelsa to build this team for the last two years. Although we won the conference, we believe there are a lot of things we need to put together to get to the national standard. That is what we will do when we go back home,” he said.

“We are defending champions, and most of these players are just coming up, so we really thank God that we could get to this level. We are going to Lagos, a place we always go to every year, where we have been named champions seven times. The team will go back home to Bayelsa to correct our mistakes during the Atlantic Conference to enable us to triumph again at the national finals in Lagos.”

Coach Nelson has worked with three different teams over the last 13 years. They are, St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Belary Schools and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School all in Bayelsa State. During this time, he also trained over 100,000 basketballers for competitions and camps, working for the Bayelsa State Sports Council. He believes that praying to God and hard work are the two most important
factors to success.

In the boys’ category of the Atlantic Conference, Urhobo Model College, Effurun, Delta State defeated Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Ovom, Bayelsa State by 28-24.

Both St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and
Urhobo Model College, Effurun, Delta State will represent the Atlantic Conference at the national finals of the 23rd MILO Basketball Championship in Lagos in July.

Other teams who will be in Lagos for the national finals are winners from the
Savannah Conference which was held in Kano from the May 3 to May 10 and the Central Conference held at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja from the May 12 to May 19 and Western Conference in Ibadan from May 30 to June 6.

Category Manager for Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Olutayo Olatunji, reiterated
company’s commitment to developing talents, promoting healthier lifestyles, and instilling values for success in life through sports.

“MILO, firmly believes that through participation in sports, children learn enduring values to help them achieve success in life,” he said.

“We are therefore, pleased to have this opportunity to provide a platform where
young talents find expression through MILO Secondary School Basketball
Championship. On the courts, the teams depend on the discipline,
perseverance, courage, self-belief, and respect that they imbibe during practice and through their interactions with each other.

“These life skills are not only for basketball; they equip the players to navigate their careers and to be productive in society. This is grit, learned from sports but useful in every area of life.”

Nestlé Nigeria’s MILO Secondary School Basketball Championship has been
promoting the value of grit for over 23 years, helping schoolchildren learn essential life skills such as resilience, persistence, stamina, cooperation, and self-belief. These values enable them to overcome challenges and achieve their goals in life.

Nestlé continues to lead grassroot sports development in Nigeria through its MILO Basketball Championship, contributing to the development of the Nigerian national
teams, and notable clubs across the world today.

States who competed in the Atlantic Conference of the MILO Basketball
Championship at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, from May 20 to May 27 are Bayelsa, Imo, Enugu and host Delta. Others are Ebonyi, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Abia.

The MILO Basketball Championship has grown tremendously from about 500 schools at its commencement in 1999. It now reaches over 150,000 individual players from over 10,000 schools across Nigeria every year.

PHOTO: Category Manager for Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Olutayo Olatunji (middle), presenting the winner’s trophy to the girls from St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School Amarata Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba recently after the girls won the girls category of the Atlantic Conference of the 23rd MILO Secondary Schools Basketball Championship.

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