Michael Bwanga uses Adjehi Baru's screen to elude Germaine Roebuck | Credit: FIBA

Burundian side Urunani are all but through to the second round of the BAL Qualifiers (Elite 16) after beating City Oilers on Saturday.

Led by their backcourt of Michael Bwanga Kazunguzibwa (21 points) and Guibert Nijimbere (15 points) with help from skipper Landry Ndikumana, Urunani edged Oilers 64-58 at the Benjamin Mkapa Indoor Stadium.

The trio, two of whom are familiar with Ugandan basketball, combined for 50 points with the rest of the team scoring 14.

Guibert Nijimbere goes for a lay-up contested by Tony Drileba | Credit: FIBA

Despite Oilers’ Germaine Roebuck opening the scoring of the game, it was the Burundians who had a better opening quarter which they won 19-9.

Roebuck and Nigerian center Francis Azolibe who finished with 17 points apiece took the game to Urunani in the second quarter and Oilers led 21-19 following an 11-0 run to start the period. However, Bwanga got Urunanion the scoreboard with 3-pointer and the Burundian side led 28-23 going into the halftime break.

In the closely contested third quarter, Ivorian big man Adehi Baru came to life on the offensive end for Urunani to back up Bwanga and Nijimbere while on the other end, Azolibe and Roebuck continued to deliver for Oilers who trailed by 3 points (46-43) at the end of the period.

Ndikumana who finished with 14 points took his turn in the final quarter dominating the stripe that even when Oilers took the lead (51-49) it never lasted.

ABC to fight for Elite 16 spot

In the other games of the day, hosts Army Basketball Club (ABC) gave themselves a fighting chance for a place in the Elite16 by beating Matero Magic 57-52.

Baraka Athumani and Fadhil Chuma scored 17 and13 points respectively for ABC while Jaylen Leroy (13 points) and skipper Chona Chonga (10 points) scored in double figures for Magic who are eliminated.

With ABC and Oilers having an identical record (1-1), the winner of their match-up on Sunday will join Urunani in the South African leg of Elite 16 which will be played next month.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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