Eleven-time African champions, Angola, were left stunned on Wednesday after falling 77-71 in overtime to lowly Cape Verde in the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket.
The defeat is the biggest upset so far in the competition which began on Tuesday, 24 August 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Angola led by 12 points at some point in the game, but Cape Verde rallied to tie the contest 66-66 at the end of regulation before they pulled away in the remaining five minutes for the historic win.
Walter Tavares, who last played for his country at AfroBasket 2013, proved fundamental for Cape Verde.
Tavares, who currently plays for Real Madrid, finished with 20 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks.
Also, Jeff Xavier, Fidel Mendonca and brothers Ivan and Joel Almeida, all scored 10 points or more each.
“We fought the whole game and we got what we deserved. This is just one win, we have to go step-by-step, respect everybody and try to win games,” Tavares later said.
Angola great and former AfroBasket MVP Carlos Almeida led all players in scoring with 21 points off the bench.
But the story of the game was clearly Tavares’ dominance at both ends of the floor.
So much so, that the game had to be interrupted for approximately 25 minutes.
This was after the former NBA player shattered the backboard following one of his many dunks with a minute left in the regulation.
But there was one Angolan celebrating.
“It’s hard for me to describe my feelings because I was born in Angola, but my experience at AfroBasket says, the most important thing is not how you begin the tournament, but how you finish it.
“But I am glad that we made history and I’m happy for my players,” said Cape Verde head coach Emanuel Trovoada.
For a team that spent most of their preparation on home soil without facing top teams, this was a huge statement of Cape Verde’s AfroBasket intentions.
With the win, Cape Verde share the top of Group A alongside hosts Rwanda.
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