12/17/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/17/2019 16:25
KIGALI (Rwanda) - Hosts Patriots made light work of Tanzanian side JKT 113-61 in their opening encounter at the Basketball Africa League 2020 East Division Qualifiers on Tuesday at the magnificent Kigali Arena.
Kenny Gasana sunk an impressive 21 points and picked six rebounds in a performance that reminded the crowd how much of a key player he is for the Rwandan champions. From the onset, Patriots took charge of the match dominating 34-17 at the end of the first period.
Carey Odhiambo's side held a 30-point lead at the half time break giving the Kenyan tactician an opportunity to seek efficiency from his bench players who rewarded him with 64 points altogether and effecting their key plays in a game situation that could come in handy going forward.
'WE EXECUTED WHAT WE SET OUT TO DO AND WE NOTICED THAT THEY GAVE UP IN THE THIRD QUARTER BUT WE STAYED FOCUSED TO EVENTUALLY WIN THE GAME. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER OF TURNOVERS WE MADE TODAY AND WE SHALL BE WORKING ON THAT IN TRAINING TOMORROW MORNING.'- Odhiambo
The home crowd celebrated every basket in sheer admiration of their side's powers to reach and pass the century mark but also gave full recognition to JKT's point guard Baraka Athumani who amassed 29 points and picked three rebounds.
His efforts were not enough to help JKT to victory, something that his teammate and captain Frank Kusiga admitted to after the game, 'We have to do better as a team. We cannot continue to let Athumani do it all. We have to contribute and we shall try to do that in our next game. Not all is lost for us.'
Patriots head coach Odhiambo said that, 'We executed what we set out to do and we noticed that they gave up in the third quarter but we stayed focused to eventually win the game. I am concerned about the number of turnovers we made today and we shall be working on that in training tomorrow morning.'
Elie Kaje registered a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds
Meanwhile, Mozambican side Ferroviario de Maputo overcame an early scare to extend their unbeaten run in the BAL Qualifiers to 5-0 after defeating Cobra Sports from South Sudan 74-59.
Helton Ubisse came off the bench to score 16 points and pick seven rebounds to help Milagre Macome's side to a much deserved victory that will come in handy in the Group Phase.
Cobra led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter but Ferroviario's presence in the paint that eventually yielded 48 points was too much for the South Sudanese champions.
'I am content with today's result. It is always good to win the first game because it gives the team the confidence going forward. We shall get better as the tournament goes on,' explained Macome after the game.
Ubisse had big minutes in the paint
In the earlier game, GNBC from Madagascar surprised the University of Zambia Pacers 78-75 in a highly contested game that saw the best of both sides.
The military outfit led 31-17 at half time and seemed on course to win the game easily but the Zambians had other ideas. The third quarter saw them step up their defense and minimize on turnovers but still GNBC was up to the challenge.
Cuthbert Tembo side came into the last quarter with a never-give-up attitude to outscore GNBC 32-22 but it was not enough to help the Zambians get the better of the Islanders.
The winners left the Kigali Arena with the heads held high as every victory counts in a very close competition where every team has revealed their hopes of making it to the top three and hence the BAL Regular Season.