The curtain came down on AfroBasket 2013 after Angola won their 11th continental title in 24 years thanks to a comprehensive 57-40 defeat of Egypt in Saturday’s Final at Abidjan’s Palais des Sports Treichville.
Angola’s title comes two years after Tunisia snapped their continental dominance in Madagascar.
Carlos Morais led the new champions with a game-high 21 points while Sheriff Abdalla, the only Egyptian player in double digits, had team-high 15 points.
The teams entered the Final having already accomplished a major goal on Friday by punching their tickets for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Prior to the title game, Senegal beat Cote d’Ivoire 57-56 in the Third-Place Game to join Angola and Egypt for Spain 2014, returning to FIBA’s flagship event for the first time since 2006.
Angola and Egypt reached the Final in different circumstances.
The new African champions entered the decisive game unbeaten in six games while the new vice-champions lost their three Preliminary Round games before rolling off three consecutive and impressive wins in the Final Round over defending champions Tunisia, Cape Verde and Senegal.
The Final began with the teams exchanging the lead, with Egypt in front 13-12 by the end of the first quarter.
Angola went up 17-15 on a three-pointer by Reggie Moore in the third minute of the second period, but Egypt tied the score at 17 all through Haytham Khalifa.
The Angolans pulled away as Joaquim Gomes scored six consecutive points and they never looked back.
Gomes, Felisardo Ambrosio and Eduardo Mingas contained Egypt star player Marei Assem who was scoreless for the first 18 minutes of the game, until he made a pair of free-throws.
While he finished with seven points, he only made one of his eight field goals and it came with six minutes left to play, when Angola led 48-35.
Egypt head coach Amr Aboul-Kheir sat him out with three minutes remaining as they trailed 51-36.
Angola strengthened their full court defense and caused a lot trouble to a struggling Egyptian team.
A group of around 200 traveling Angolan fans funded by their government started celebrating as their team progressively increased the in the third quarter.
Angolans Morais and Mingas were named to the All-Tournament Team which also included Cote d’Ivoire Souleyman Diabate, Marei of Egypt and Maley Ndoye of Senegal.
Morais was also named the tournament’s MVP.
He told FIBA.com: “I am pleased for this recognition, but this is down to our team work. I would have never received it if it were not for my teammates.
“We deserved to win this championship because of the sacrifice we have been through in the past few months.”
Amr Aboul-Kheir told FIBA.com: “Angola played well. They were the best team in the tournament, but with this group of players, we must be optimistic. My players are young and very hardworking.”
Milton Barros of Angola added: “It has been over two months since we left our families to accomplish this trophy.
“This is price for all the Angolan families.”
Angola regained their African dominance after a defeat to Tunisia two years ago and Macedo said the reason that happened “was because they did not select the right players.
“We did not have Olimpio Cipriano or Carlos Almeida. Both gave us a tremendous contribution. And we added Reggie Moore who played a crucial role to our title.”