Brilliant College, Port Harcourt and St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School Amarata, Bayelsa have emerged winners of the just concluded 21st South-East Milo Basketball championship in Enugu.

The championship which is been sponsored by Nestle Milo company is also known as the `Equatorial Conference’

Brilliant College Port Harcourt won the boys’ category with 42 points to beat FAAN Secondary School Calabar, which had 41 points.

In the girls’ category, St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School Amarata, garnered 31 points to defeat FAAN Secondary School Calabar which earned 13 points.

The Rivers and Bayelsa-based teams which came first positions went home with trophy, N100,000 bank cheque, medals, two carton of Milo sachets, a basketball and certificate.

The Calabar-based team which finished second position, earned a trophy, N70, 000, medal and certificate.

The third best teams, St. Augustine Seminary School, Ezzamgbo, Ebonyi and Holy Rosary Girls College, Port Harcourt were given N50,000 cheque, medals and certificate.

Speaking after the event, Bamidele Aina the Branch Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc, South-East, said that the Milo brand was celebrating 21 years of consistent support for rural sport development in Nigeria.

Represented by Olufemi Ayemi, Nestle’s Regional Sales Manager, Enugu, Aina said that Milo Basketball Championship brought 10,000 schools together annually.

According to him, this competition started in 1998 with no fewer than 500 schools.

“ The school game has grown beyond being just a sport to a passion that helps to discipline the body and mind,” he said.

He noted that the championship was still at the preliminary level where teams were expected to qualify from each category.

“The state winners will be grouped to play in the regional conferences and fight for a place at the national finals in July.

“Here, we have Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers,” the manager said.

The manager said that the finals would hold at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos between June 27 and July 4.

Aina noted that the Sahara Conference had finished their preliminary and that the Central Conference has also finished their own while Western Conference preliminary will take place between May 25 and 30.

“The champions from the four conferences will compete for the grand price, which is championship trophy, cash, basketball kits and lots of other Milo products,” Aina said.

In his speech, Joseph Udedi, Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Enugu, thanked the participants for their comportment during the events.

Udedi, who said the state was always open to host similar championships in the future, urged the players to show more commitment and build a career around the game.

Reacting, Abdulanalik Dalhat, a student of Brilliant College of Port Harcourt commended the organizers of the championship, describing it as ` a wonderful exposure’

“Our school has been working hard for this competition; let me say that it is a thing of joy that our hard work has paid off.

“We are going home to keep up with our preparation knowing that this time around, we are going to a higher level.

“As for the regional final, we are going to increase our effort to ensure we make it to the grand finale in Lagos and win the overall trophy,” Dalhat said.