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Silverbacks fall short in Angola AfroBasket opener

By Charles Mutebi

Added 9th September 2017 02:35 AM

Angola are true basketball royalty, ranked 66 places above Uganda

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AfroBasket 2017

Angola 94 Uganda 89

Morocco 76 CAR 66

Today

Uganda v Morocco

Angola v CAR

There are losses that feel like wins.

Uganda's 94-89 overtime defeat to Angola on day one of Afrobasket 2017 will go down in history as the loss that was a victory.

The Silverbacks should have actually beaten Angola; they led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, by 15 at halftime and most importantly by five points with 51 seconds to go.

But for a Ugandan team making only their second appearance at the continental showpiece, one dominated by players from the amateur National Basketball League, this was an epic display.

Angola are true basketball royalty, ranked 66 places above Uganda.

This was supposed to be a no-contest and it was so in the first half, except it was the underdogs not the title contenders who were putting on a show.

Silverbacks debutant Robinson Opong (23 points) and Stanley Ociti (20pts) shot the lights out in the first half.

A'Darius Pegues added 17 points and nine rebounds in another impressive debut, gutting it out to the very end despite clearly tiring.

gandas tephen mony attempts a layup during the game hotoUganda’s Stephen Omony attempts a layup during the game. Photo/FIBA

Uganda skipper Stephen Omony finished with 15 points and several big plays down the stretch.

He made it 81-79 in favour of Uganda with 1:19 to play in the fourth quarter, then he found an open Opong at the top of the key after careful drawing the trap.

Oping nailed it to put Uganda 84-79 ahead with 51 seconds to go. A historic victory beckoned for George Galanapoulous troops.

But the experienced Angolans made one more fight to tie it 84-84 at the end of relegation.

Angola, the record 11-time African champions, were led unsurprisingly by silky vet Carlos Morais, who caught fire in the second half on the way to team-high 21 points.

Uganda face Morocco today in a game expected to decide whether they reach the quarters.

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