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Italee Lucas shares heartfelt tribute to late Angolan Basketball official who changed her life

LUANDA (Angola) - Miguel Antonio - the man who inspired Angolan side Inter Clube de Luanda to a record five FIBA Africa Champions Cup Women (FIBA ACCW) titles - died last week in the Angolan capital of Luanda.

A charismatic figure in Angolan and African basketball circles, Antonio, also known by his nickname Camuloge, succumbed to health problems.

He served as director for basketball operations at Inter Clube de Luanda for almost two decades. 

Miguel Antonio 'Camuloge' (second from left in the back row) is seen celebrating Inter Clube's fifth FIBA ACCW in 2016 in Maputo, Mozambique

As Africa mourns the death of Camuloge, Angolan-American Italee Lucas, who has recently joined Egyptian side Al Ahly from Camuloge's Inter Clube, shared a heartfelt tribute to the late Angolan Basketball official who changed her life. 

Lucas, a well-known player not only in Africa but all around the world, has helped Inter Clube to three of their five FIBA ACCW titles. 

The two-time FIBA ACCW Most Valuable Player has been named to the tournament's All-Star Team six times.

Italee Lucas has become a key member of the Angolan national team ever since she became an Angolan citizen in 2015

Below is tribute penned by Lucas exclusively to FIBA.basketball.

"My heart broke the moment I received the news. I was in disbelief as I just spoke with him the week before. A numbest came over me and a deep sadness.

"He discovered me while I was in Las Vegas in 2013 and I trusted him enough to go to Angola. 

"He helped change my life and supported me every step of the way. He always believed in me through the highs and the lows, never gave up on me and that will be embedded in my soul forever.

Italee Lucas and Miguel Antonio Camuloge

"Inter is not just a basketball team, but our foundation is deeply rooted in the concept of family and loyalty. He became family to me.

"Basketball in Angola will not be the same without him nor will life, his passion, his fight, his hunger.

"Each game played will be dedicated to him. I know he will always be with us in spirit. 

"While he reached so many people and those he has crossed paths with I will miss him here on earth. 

"My love goes out to his family, and to Inter.

"With everything going on in the world right now when it's time to play again I know he will be with us."