11 October, 2022
27 November
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Urunani take a step closer to Elite 16 with hard fought win over Oilers


DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania) Burundi club Urunani fought their way past City Oilers of Uganda in Group C of the 2022 Road To BAL qualifiers on Saturday evening at the Benjamin Mkapa Indoor Stadium.

Urunani, who triumphed 64-58, are a step closer to stamping their ticket to the South Africa leg of the Elite 16 tournament in November.

The Burundi club's shooting guard Michael Kazunguzibwa led the scoring in the game with 21 points. Guibert Nijimbere's 15 points and team captain Landry Ndikumana's 14 points also contributed to the victory.

Oilers guard Germaine Roebuck Jr and forward Francis Azolide both scored 17 points apiece. 

Urunani, cheered on by a small group of supporters, made a strong start, with Nijimbere scoring seven points, which included a three-pointer. He also made two free-throws after being fouled in a three-pointer attempt.

At that point, the game was three minutes old, and Urunani had a 5-2 two lead.

Oilers guard Roebuck Jr, who opened the scoring in the game, added two more points to his total in the first quarter with a drive-in layup in the paint area to make it a point difference (5-4).

Nijimbere made a layup after receiving an inbound pass which gave the East Africans a 7-4 lead. The Burundi champions pulled away by adding 12 points to their total, while Oilers could only manage five more points.

The Oilers staged a comeback in the second quarter against Urunani, who had closed out the first quarter 19-9. Roebuck Jr and Nigerian Azolibe scored four points each and cut the lead by four points (19-15).

Julius Kizito scored a mid-range jumper to tie the game (19-19) for the Oilers, who would then temporarily take the lead (21-19). Urunani regained the initiative with Democratic Republic of Congo guard Kazunguzibwa, who had seven in the first quarter, giving his club a 22-21 lead after scoring a three-pointer.

Urunani added four points to close out the first half 28-23.

The third quarter was a close affair, with Nijimbere and Kazunguzibwa adding four points to finish 15 and 14 points. While centre Adjehi Baru came to life, scoring some mid-range jumpers and a free throw to end the quarter with nine points.

While for the Oilers, Roebuck Jr (13) and Azolibe (15) scored five and six points, but it would be Urunani again who would finish the quarter in the lead 46-43.

The final quarter belonged to forward Ndikumana, who started the quarter with five points. Urunani's captain played a lead role in dropping eight points in the paint area.

The quarter saw Oilers 51-49 lead, but it would be short-lived as Ndikumana dominated with his presence and scoring touch. While Kazunguzibwa scored six points, ensuring that Urunani will get closer to part of their goal of reaching the South African leg of the Elite 16 tournament.

Kazunguzibwa, in a post-match interview with FIBA.basketball, felt the victory was a team effort.

"We played as a team and shared the ball and got the open shots. I had a good game, but my teammates put me in good positions to score. Their (Oilers) defence also allowed us to find spaces to take our shots and luckily they landed," said Kazungzibwa, who then spoke about the team goals. "It's not over, we have one more game, after that we can start speaking about the Elite 16, but our main goal is to qualify for the BAL tournament."

ABC sink Matero Magic

In the final game of the evening hosts Army Basketball Club (ABC) overcame Matero Magic 57-52 in a nail-biting encounter.

The win over Matero gives ABC a fighting chance of qualifying for the Elite 16. The Tanzanian team will have to beat City Oilers team, who are also 1-1 in the qualifiers.

ABC's Baraka Athumani led all scorers with 17 points and was followed by teammate and big man Fadhili Chuma  with 13 points. 

Matero top scorer was Jaylen Leroy, with 13 points while team captain Chona Chonga score 10 points.