08 - 16
July 2023
12 Farrel-drexler Dimidimba (GAB)
Game Report
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Gabon stun Kenya to relaunch AfroCan campaign


LUANDA (Angola) – Gabon stunned 2019 FIBA AfroCan silver medalists Kenya 66-63 on Monday in Luanda to relaunch their 2023 FIBA AfroCan campaign.

Gabon desperately needed to bounce back after their loss to Cote d'Ivoire in the first game of Group A on Saturday. 

They did so with grace and style, working their way from behind to create the tournament's first shocker so far.

Gabon never really let Kenya walk away with a big lead, always doing the job to remain as close as they can to their opponent.

Led by Farrel-Drexler Dimidimba and Lerry Rostand Essono Mve, the Gabonese team waited patiently for their time to shine and outplay one of the title contenders.

Kenya did try to come back in the game, but their numerous attempts only met with some a strong and organized defense.

TURNING POINT : After chasing the score for the better part of the first half, Gabon finally tied it at 37-37 in the third quarter.

Andy Paul Darel Ndoh-Mapangou was the man who made this possible when he converted two free-throws.

From then on, they went into command mode and points kept sinking in though under Kenya's menace.

With Kenya remaining within short distance, Gabon had to fight back, which they did thanks to a wonderful set of 30 defensive rebounds.

Though Kenya out-rebounded their opponent 48-37, the defensive rebounds were worth their weight in gold, as they were more than enough to fend off Kenya's offensive.

HEROES : After losing their inaugural game at the hands of Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday, Gabon needed to rethink all their playing strategy for their second game.

Lerry Rostand Essono Mve

Farrel-Drexler Dimidimba and Lerry Rostand Essono Mve were the main architects behind Gabon's success over the 2019 silver medalists. They scored 17 points each, adding 7 and 4 rebounds to their respective credit.

STATS DON'T LIE : Limiting Kenya's offensive prowess was a masterful game-plan was the Gabonese. Derrick Ogechi and Eugene Adera were the only Kenyans to score in double figures, finishing with 16 and 12 points, respectively. 

Unlike Kenya who made only 3 of their 23 three-point attempts, Gabon were more efficient finishing 4-for-13 from behind the arc. 

Tom Bush Wamukota  couldn't help Kenya come back in the game

Defensively, Gabon were on point as Gaius Mervin Mewourou M'Ella came up with two of Gabon's block shots. 

BOTTOM LINE: Gabon had a promising qualifying campaign, and they showed they mean in business in beating, a Kenya team aiming to replicate their successful AfroCan run from four years ago.

It's a significant triumph for Gabon, who last competed at a continental competition back in 2015. 

The main takeaway from this game is that Kenyan Moras might have learnt a valuable lesson from this loss. No team can be underestimated at FIBA AfroCan. 

THEY SAID: "Our defeat on the previous game has affected us in more ways than we'd like to admit. But with this win, specially over Kenya, who are the 2019 silver medalists, is quite special. We were a bit feverish in the first half, but we finally came back in the second half. We decided we wanted to cling to every possibility. Now we're in for a win, we're more at ease. We're going to take things step by step. Every team here is a title contender and we need to be careful during our games.” – Gabon team captain Lerry Rostand Essono Mve.