The Tshwane Suns met the defending champions, Egoli Magic in their Basketball National League 2016 debut season opener.
The team heard every criticism about the state of their supposedly shorthanded group and their slim chances in light of player exoduses and injuries to key players. And, for 20 minutes, they put everything they had on the floor, taking the lead by 1 at the end of the first half. Defensively the team had a great showing, it was clear that playing the twin towers created a block party for the Suns, altering Egoli’s shot selection to drive to the basket.
A halftime break to cool down also turned the shots ice cold, and all the energy the Suns used to fuel their attack in the first half seemed to seep away. As a team the Suns shot 47% from the free throw line. The team had an assist to turnover ratio of 0,29(which basically means , for every 3 assists made, the ball was turned over 10 times- which is something the team can definitely improve on )
“They turned their energy up beginning of the third,” said Captain Shongwe. “We had too many defensive lapses in the third quarter and, we failed to execute effectively.”
The Suns still had some fuel left in the tank, led by new additions Everisto Pasipamire and Celumusa Khumalo, who willed his way to the line on every possession. Celumusa made 11 of his 13 free-throws ending the game with 16 pts and 4 rebounds.
We had too many defensive lapses in the third quarter and, we failed to execute effectively.
Everisto played 31 minutes finishing the game with 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 pts, and an efficiency rate of 18.
The Suns put up a fight until the flaws of what is still a new team were exposed, allowing Egoli to score 33 points in the second half, and getting outscored by 10 points in the third quarter. Mlungisi Shongwe said the key going forward is to “have better execution and make use of the obvious mismatches”.
Vice-Captain, Tich Mabiza who watched from the side-lines due to injury said, “Going forward we just need to maximise our strengths, whatever those strengths are, on that particular day”.
The Suns have a chance to get it right this Sunday against the Marlins.
Now that the team knows where it might have gone wrong, it is evident that the team will be have better showings in the games ahead. Despite the loss the team is still ready to go.