12/18/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/18/2019 13:32
KIGALI (Rwanda) - Ferroviario de Maputo are the first team to progress to the Basketball Africa League 2020 Division East Semi-Finals after defeating City Oilers of Uganda 92-87 in a tightly contested tie at the Kigali Arena on Wednesday.
Spanish import Alvaro Calvo Masa recorded an impressive double double with 32 points and 10 rebounds to guide the Mozambique side to a seventh straight victory in the BAL 2020 qualification phase. His leadership on court was lethal for Ferroviario de Maputo against a tough opponent.
Milagre Macome's side got off to a flying start leading 12-0 forcing his counterpart on the other end Mandy Juruni to call a timeout. The breather helped the Ugandan champions to reorganize themselves and save face even though they trailed 23-15 at the end of the first quarter.
'WE STARTED THE GAME VERY WELL AND IT GAVE US THE CONFIDENCE TO CONTINUE WITH THIS RHYTHM THROUGHOUT THE GAME. THIS WIN IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US AS A TEAM BECAUSE WE HAVE NOW QUALIFIED TO THE SEMI-FINALS. IT WAS A PHYSICAL GAME AND WE CAME PREPARED.'- Macome
City Oilers point guard Jordin Mayes stepped up to the occasion to score 20 points by the half time mark but Ferroviario's consistency on defense and their ability to share the ball saw them rise above the Oilers charge.
Center Ivan Lumanyika and Tyrar Petty played big minutes in the paint on both ends of the court to provide a spark to a game that lived up to its billing and answered most of the questions that Ferroviario was asking on the day.
City Oilers picked up from where they left off at half time and outscored Ferroviario 24-21 in the third quarter and eventually tied the game at 84-up thanks to a Robinson Opong three-pointer that got the fans on the edges of their seats.
A display of good basketball, nail-biting end-to-end action and a true test of character reminded everyone watching why they love the hoops game.
The Oilers turned over the ball twice in the last minute to gift Ferroviario de Maputo two quick fast breaks that eventually defined the result of the game.
'We started the game very well and it gave us the confidence to continue with this rhythm throughout the game. This win is very important to us as a team because we have now qualified to the Semi-Finals. It was a physical game and we came prepared,' explained Macome.
Juruni admitted that their poor start affected them in the beginning of the game. He said, 'This is our first game of the tournament and so we took long to get going but we eventually caught up but a few mistakes in the last minutes of the game cost us.'
Helton Ubisse also put up a double double with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Baggio Chimonzo added 14 points to help Ferroviario de Maputo improve their win ratio to 7-0.
For the Oilers, Opong put up 18 points and seven rebounds while Lumanyika added 12 points and five rebounds but Ferroviario de Maputo were too strong in a high scoring encounter that left the Ugandan outfit in despair.
Ferroviario de Maputo now top Group B while there is a lot to play for when City Oilers take on Cobra Sport from South Sudan on Thursday at the same venue.