IN LUANDA, ANGOLA
Equity Bank made a false start in their opening game of Fiba Africa basketball club championships on Saturday night, losing 43-62 to First Bank of Nigeria here.
The game, played at Pavilhao Multiuso de Luanda, could have gone either way but a combination of poor execution and unforced errors contributed to Equity’s loss.
Equity had matched their Nigerian opponents in all the departments and at one time even took the lead in the first half.
Equity had 33 turnovers in total and allowed their opponents to score easily on second shots under the rim, the Nigerians having a field day inside the paint.
Mercy Wanyama, Belinda Okoth and Susan Akinyi who were tasked with the responsibility of keeping their opponents at bay by coach Ben Oluoch did not live upto the billing as the Nigerians took the first quarter 15-11 and 13-10 in the second quarter for a 28-21 half-time lead.
Nigeria’s centres Fofana Minata and Pricilla Chioma tormented Equity on the blocks, while their experienced shooting guards Akashili Nkechi, Wilson Dominique and Deborah Nwakamma orchestrated the offense
The Nigerians, who finished third at last year’s championships in Maputo, fielded five players based in the US but the going got difficult for them in a low-scoring third quarter which they lost 4-5.
However, they exploded in the final quarter which they dominated 14-05 to take the game beyond Equity’s reach.
Dominique top-scored for First Bank with 12 points, while Minata and Nkechi scored 10 points each in the game.
Equity, who were due to play GSP of Algeria on Sunday, had Hilda Indasi scoring 14 points while Belinda Okoth managed 10 for her team.
“We lost concentration in the second half and the Nigerians took full advantage to punish us. We must up our game if we have to make an impression in this tournament,” Equity coach Ben Oluoch said after the match.
His First Bank counter part Peter Favour Ahmedu said they did not take their Kenyan opponents seriously and would have to respect all their opponents going forward if they are to win the tournament.