Ferroviario da Beira punch ticket to the BAL 2023
JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - Mozambique's Ferroviario da Beira withstood a fierce fight back from Urunani in the Road to BAL East Division's first Semi-Final on Saturday at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg to qualify for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) for the second time in a row.
Beira won the match 68-62 to secure automatic qualification for the BAL 2023 and will play in Sunday's Final for bragging rights.
Urunani will have another shot at qualifying for the elite league in a Third-Place playoff game on Sunday.
The first half was a tightly contested affair, and Beira headed into the second quarter with a single-point lead (29-28).
TURNING POINT: Knowing what was at stake, Beira maintained their composure throughout the game and held their nerve whenever their Burundian opponents made run.
Beira led by 3 (65-62) with a minute left, but a combination of two missed shots that were followed by an Adonis Filer's turnover damaged Urunani's chances to reverse the score. Eventually Will Perry decided the encounter from the charity stripe.
GAME HERO: Helton Ubisse knew his role in the Semi-Final. That was to dominate in the paint area for Beira at both ends.
He diligently fulfilled his positional duty at both ends and delivered double (21 points and 13 rebounds). Ubisse's put back from a missed Will Perry's layup with seconds remaining capped off a great performance from the Beira big man.
Guards Will Perry and Ismael Nurmamade also played signifcant roles in terms of points production. Perry (14) and Nurmamade (13) contributed to Beira's win, while Michael Murry also crashed 11 boards.
STATS DON'T LIE: Ferroviario out-rebounded Urunai 55-36. And, even though Ferroviario da Beira turned ball over 22 times and its bench could only contribute 5 points against Urunani's 25, the Mozambican champions capitalised from their dominance in the painted area where they outscored Urunani 44-22.
BOTTOM LINE: The Mozambicans lifted their game against Urunani and did not let the disappointment of losing the final group stage game against City Oilers get them down.
Beira stepped on the floor a desperation mode to get the job and they did just that. And forcing Adonis Filer to a 3-for-15 field-goal shooting has proven vital for a team that will be playing in the BAL for a second straight season.
Although Urunani did everything they possibly could, it wasn't meant to be for Burundians who will try their last chance to qualify for the BAL on Sunday when they take on the loser of the game between Cape Town Tigers and City Oilers.
THEY SAID: "I am happy, and my team is happy. We played excellent defence despite them getting a runs against us. In the second half we controlled the game and that it! Now we are going to the BAL. After the tournament, I want us to rest." - Beira head coach Luis Hernandez.
"Our objective is complete. We had to be physically strong and mentally strong for this game (against Urunani). In the game against Oilers I think we took things easy because we thought we were in the semi-finals, but tonight it was either win or bust for us." - Ferroviario da Beira power forward Helton Ubisse.
"We have one more game and I know the attitude of my players. They are winners. Tonight they are disappointed and I am also disapppointed. We have one more game tomorrow (Sunday) and we will give it a go." - Urunani head coach Inaki Martin Garcia.