Morans’ win against Angola earns Kenya return Fiba AfroBasket Championship
Monday, February 22nd, 2021
By Faith Nzilan
Ranked 115th globally, national men’s basketball team, Morans, caused the biggest upset in the history of Kenyan basketball as they defeated powerhouse Angola 74-73 in dramatic fashion to book a ticket to the biennial Afrobasket championship scheduled for August in Rwanda.
Angola, ranked 32nd in the world, were left in disbelief when Tyler Ongwae sunk a buzzerbeater for Morans to win the match 74-73. The Angolans’ outcry that Ongwae’s clutch jump shot was made after the buzzer had already gone were disapproved by the video assistant referee.
It was a tense 30 seconds, that felt like eternity, as Morans celebration on the floor had been cut short when all three referees were huddled behind the small screen on the sidelines of the court just to confirm Ongwae’s confident shot was well within regulation play time.
When the centre referee stepped on the floor to make the final declaration that Ongwae just beat the buzzer with his jumper, players, the technical bench and the few Kenyan fans on the arena broke into dance celebrating a heroic feat.
After a long 28 years, where a majority of the players in the current Morans squad were yet to be born with the rest barely out of their diapers, Kenya is back on the continental scene.
The last time the team featured was by virtue of playing hosts to the games and they finished fourth. The first half of the match didn’t indicate a great second half was waiting. Angola began on a high, closing the first quarter leading 21-9.
They kept their foot on Morans neck to head to the half time breather with a 11-point lead at 39-28. Joel Awich, who missed the first match against Senegal due to a Covid-19 scare, led Morans in an epic comeback, as the team cut Angola’s lead to three points at the end of the third quarter.
His jump shot handed Morans the lead at 56-57 for the first time since a 2-0 lead at tip off. Tom Wamukota’s 13 points and eight rebounds, Preston Bungei’s 10 points and Ongwae’s 16 enabled Morans to seal the historic win.