Dhieu Abok Deng’s late pair of 3-pointers sealed Cape Town Tigers a ticket to the Basketball Africa League as City Oilers were made to wait for at least another day.
The South Sudan shooting guard finished with team-high 24 points as the Tigers beat the Oilers, 75-69, at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg.
It was a rough start to the game for City Oilers who committed three turnovers in the first quarter and were punished with open-court dunks. They trailed 14-7 in the low-scoring frame.
The Oilers were careless and sloppy with the ball, turning it over 18 times in the first half alone which resulted in 11 points.
However, the production on the offensive end improved nearly three-fold in the second quarter and trailed by 4 (30-26) at the half. Falando Jones, despite turning over the rock 6 times, attacked the basket with powerful drives, was difficult for Cape Town to stop downhill, and had 13 points at the long break. His partner in crime Germaine Roebuck, however, struggled to beat the Tigers’ aggressive defense in the first half going 0-for-7 and coughing up the ball on four occasions.
Ngor Barnaba fired a 3-pointer to start the 3rd and James Okello tied at 30 with a throw and it was game on. Oilers took the lead on Jones’ back-to-back lay-ups but Michael Gbinije (8 points) connected from the corner and the top of the mountain and the Tigers were in the lead again.
Jones started to heat up from beyond the arc in the 3rd quarter in which he exploded for 18 points, Roebuck (6 points & 14 rebounds) finally got to the scoreboard and the Oilers had a slim one-point (52-51) lead going into the fourth quarter.
Home-based lads Titus Odeke and team skipper Okello started to contribute in the fourth quarter and the Oilers had a 5-point lead with 7:27 to play but the Tigers never really went away.
And with just over two minutes to play and the Oilers leading by 3 points, Deng took over to get the Tigers over the line. He got support from Evans Ganapamo (22 points) and Daniel Pieter Prinsloo (11 points).
Jones’ 40 points were in a losing effort as only Barnaba (10 points & 10rebounds) scored in double figures for the Oilers.
The Oilers now have to win the 3rd place playoff game against Urunani on Sunday to qualify for BAL 2023.