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APR Basketball Club Experience First Defeat In BAL

by Annet Mugabo
12:53 pm
     Rwanda’s APR faced their first defeat in the Basketball Africa League (BAL) 2024, falling 83-86 to Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers at the Dakar Arena in Senegal on Sunday.
 With this win, Rivers Hoopers improved to a 2-0 record, following their earlier victory over Tunisia’s US Monastir, which they had beaten 89-84 in overtime during the opening game of the conference.
 Point guard Will Perry was the standout performer, scoring 29 points, grabbing 4 rebounds, and providing 3 assists, leading the Hoopers to victory over Mazen Trakh’s team.
APR’s captain, William Robeyns, admitted that their defense let Perry get too many open shots, ultimately leading to their loss. “We allowed Will Perry to shoot far too many open shots, and this cost us because he’s a smart player,” Robeyns remarked.
 Three-point shooting was a decisive factor, as no team led by more than 6 points at any time. APR had a tough time from beyond the arc, ending the first quarter 0-7 and eventually shooting 6-for-31 from long range.
 Robeyns suggested that the Hoopers won because they “wanted it more.” Reflecting on the loss, Robeyns acknowledged that APR needed to refocus on defense. “We didn’t play well defensively. We are going to watch some game film, focus on defense, and try to move forward,” he said.
 APR coach Mazen Trakh noted that, despite scoring 82 points, their defense needed improvement. Obadiah Noel had a strong showing with a game-high 32 points, but APR’s poor perimeter defense caused them trouble.
Adonis Filer struggled, shooting just 2-for-15 and scoring 6 points. Trakh turned to his bench for help, which outscored Rivers Hoopers’ bench 14-6. However, APR’s performance from the free-throw line, where they shot 22-for-32, also hurt their chances.
At the press conference, Trakh acknowledged Rivers Hoopers’ performance.
 “My team didn’t lose the game; we were beaten by a good team. I give them credit because they went out there to win—they were the better team today,” he said.
 Rivers Hoopers continued their strong form after defeating the hosts AS Douanes just 24 hours earlier.
 APR’s next game is against AS Douanes on Tuesday, May 7, at 9 pm Kigali time.
The BAL 2023 runners-up will head into the game with a 1-1 record, having beaten US Monastir 76-59 on Sunday.
 APR’s objective remains the same: they plan to win their remaining games to earn a spot in the playoffs later this month in Rwanda.

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