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Angolans banking on three-headed monster

Bruno Fernando is tipped to be the focal point of the Angolan attack in the FIBA Basketball World. FIBA PHOTO

A three-headed monster will be at the attack zone when Angola competes in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila from 25 August to 10 September.

National Basketball Association player Bruno Fernando will be teaming up with Jilson Bango and Silvio De Sousa to form a deadly trio that is tipped to give the Philippines, Italy and Dominican Republic a run for their money in Group A of the preliminaries.

The 6-foot-10 Bango is a two-time Angolan League Most Valuable Player while the 6-foot-9 De Souza is a former Kansas star who campaigns in the Greek Basket League.

The 25-year-old Fernando, of course, is the most distinguished member of the team as he plays for the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.

Still, the most important member of the team will be 5-foot-6 playmaker Childe Dundao, who is already overflowing with international experience at such a young age of 25.

The emergence of Fernando, Bango, De Souza and Dundao signals the changing of the guard for the African superpower.

The last time the Angolans competed in the World Cup in China in 2019, they were powered by 37-year-old Olimpio Cipriano, 33-year-old Carlos Morais, 33-year-old Leonel Paulo, 40-year-old Eduardo Mingas and Reggie Moore, the naturalized player who died last June at 42 years old.

The veteran quintet, however, had collected 77 games of World Cup experience as well as 23 games in the Summer Olympics.

With that, it’s going to be a major challenge for Angolan coach Josep “Pep” Claros to rally the squad and overcome their 27th place finish in the previous World Cup in China.

So far, things are not looking good for the young Angolans as they are struggling in their friendly matches for the World Cup, including a 65-75 loss to Japan in the Softbank Cup in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Dundao finished with 18 points while Bango registered 13 points and eight rebounds and Fernando logged 12 points and nine rebounds for the Angolans, who will face France and Slovenia before flying to Manila to open their World Cup campaign against Italy at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

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