Angola beat FYR of Macedonia in an intense game 88-84, in Caracas as they look to shake off a rare appearance in these Olympic Qualifiers by advancing to London.
Angola had four players scoring in double digits with Eduardo Mingas being MVP (23 points, 6 assists and 4 boards) well surrounded by Olimpio Cipriano (24 points) and a double double by Joaquim Gomes.
For the European side, Bo McCalebb scored 21 points and Olympiacos’ Pero Antic finished with 17 points that wasn’t enough to get a win.
Defence was not a good word for both teams in the first quarter, making easy baskets and scoring points from second opportunities on offensive rebounds. It was a high score quarter, especially for the Angolans with 6 of 9 from 3 point to grab a 32-21 lead at the first intermission.
The African team was in flow and their rhythm continued to create problems for the FYR Macedonians early in the second quarter, Olimpio Cipriano (after missing the last AfroBasket) was insane showing all his scoring ability in a quarter made of great runs by both teams. Angola went to halftime leading by 13 (53-40).
FYR of Macedonia shots started to fall in the third quarter trying to cut the deficit but every time FYROM made a run, Angola answered with good defence in the next possessions to create some fast but solid offensive plays.
McCalebb was a shadow of what we saw in the last Eurobasket, Angola was playing aggressive defence on him mainly on pick and roll situations until the fourth quarter where he appeared to put the team on his shoulders scoring and creating for others.
Angola knew that FYR of Macedonia wouldn’t go away, and the European team made a four point game with only 4.30 minutes left. But they keep the composure and continued to run their offense on crunch time to get a deserved win, 88-84.
The battle on the boards was an essential part of this game; Angola got 37 rebounds against 25 from FYROM.
FYR of Macedonia will play against New Zealand tomorrow while Angola rests and will face New Zealand on July 4th in the last game of the group for those teams.