Rwanda Energy Group (REG) suffered an early elimination from the Basketball Africa League (BAL) 2023 after a 94-77 dominating defeat by Egyptian giants Al Ahly Basketball Club in a quarter final game played on Saturday, May 20 at the BK Arena.
Al Ahly finished second in the playoff games in the Nile Conference, while REG BBC qualified third in the Sahara Conference.
The Egyptian champions started the game well despite REG’s home crowd advantage, finishing the first quarter 23-18. REG tried to bounce back to catch up but Al Ahly kept the pace, going into halftime with a comfortable 46-32 lead in a game watched by President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
In the second half, Dean Murray’s side continued to attempt to make a comeback through Cleveland Thomas Jr., Adonis Filer, Axel Mpoyo and Pitchou Manga but a stellar Al Ahly kept the momentum with a 73-53 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth was not different as the Rwandan side fluffed various shots as they struggled to close the gap but Al Ahly’s star player Ehab Amin was determined to carry his side through, scoring a team high 22 points on the night.
Corey Webster put in another stellar display for the composed Egyptian side, scoring 13 points off the bench while Nuni Omot racked up 16 points as Al Alhy made a statement to their rivals, heading into the semifinals.
REG’s Filer scored a game-high of 26 points for his team while Thomas Jr. added 15 points, same as Mpoyo, but it was not enough to give the Rwandan side a much needed win on home court.
In a game played earlier, Malian giants Stade Malien Basketball Club defeated South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers 78-69 to book a place in the semi-finals of the tournament.
This is the 3rd time in a row that the BAL finals have been in Kigali with two Rwandan sides participating don’t advance to the semis.
The quarter-final games will continue on this today Sunday, May 21, as Senegal champions AS DOUANES lock horns with Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviário De Beira while Clube Atlético Petróleos de Luanda will take on Abidjan Basket Club of Ivory coast.