RADES (AfroBasket 2015) - The Central African Republic (CAF) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday in their game against Uganda to break into the win column at AfroBasket 2015.
Fortunate to be trailing by just nine points points in the second half with the Silverbacks missing free throw after free throw, Aubin Goporo's side capitalised and made some big plays down the stretch for a 60-56 win.
At the end, we controlled the game and played our game and that's why we got our win. - Kouguere
"It was a good game," the coach said. "[We showed] good fight. We came back and played well in the last seconds and won the game.
"I'm proud of my players."
Kouguere was all smiles and obviously relieved.
The team had lost its previous games to Nigeria and Tunisia.
"It was a tough game because we tried to play run and gun but it's not our game," he said.
"But that's not our game."
Kouguere didn't have his best performance but did come through with a couple of key late baskets, including one that gave the team a 52-40 lead with 2:48 to play.
"That's why I'm the leader in the team, to take the decisions like this at the end of the game," he said.
"To try and make my team win.
"This win has given us confidence and maybe we can win against a big team, too. If you win, you get a lot of confidence going into the next game."
Goporo, when asked if the team had learned something from the contest that can help it moving forward, answered: "We won this game because of our zone.
"We are going to work on it to improve it. We have to improve our zone defense. So far, it's working for us."
The Central African Republic will play the loser of Monday's game between Senegal and Angola in the Round of 16, and Uganda will face the winner.
Uganda coach Juruni Lutwama was disappointed with the result but accepted that his team had blown its chance at the charity stripe where they sank just 13 of 32 attempts.
"That's the reason why we lost this game," he said.
"Losing by five points after missing 19 free-throws and giving everything that we had, it's tough.
"Defensively, you can also not give away so many layups.
"You're going to lose the game if you give up so many high percentage shots and we failed to adjust to their zone defense.
"We just have to look at those details and try to get better."