Home Sports BAL 2024: Al Ahly, Petro de Luanda To Face Off In Crunch Final

BAL 2024: Al Ahly, Petro de Luanda To Face Off In Crunch Final

by Eddy Abayisenga
10:00 am

Nicholas Faust delivered another brilliant performance yet again to send Petro de Luanda to the BAL final.

Al Ahly of Libya and Petro de Luanda will square off in the 2024 BAL final, following their semi-final victories over Rivers Hoopers and Cape Town Tigers, respectively, on Wednesday. Debutant Al Ahly reached the final after edging out Rivers Hoopers 89-83 in overtime.

The Nigerian side seemed to find a way back in the game after cutting a 16-point deficit and went on to lead by six points in the last quarter when Al Ahly was throwing away hosts of turnovers.

However, Al Ahly rebounded late in the fourth quarter and leveled the game at 73-73, forcing overtime.

During the overtime, Jo-Lual Acuil showed the way, dropping six points to finish with a game-best 27 points, while grasping seven rebounds to propel the Lybian franchise to the very first BAL final.

Robert Golden added 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Majok Deng contributed 10 points and a game-best 13 rebounds, whilst Kelvin Murphy had 13 points.

Kelvin Amayo had a monumental double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds, but he couldn’t secure the most sought-after spot. Devine Eke contributed also a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, whereas Willy Perry had 16 points.

“I’m disappointed because I did some plays that cost our team, but I’m just proud that we’ve got a chance to be able to compete with these types of guys. Nobody thought we could get here, we put tremendous work in,” said Kelvin Amayo in a post-game press conference.

On the other hand, Petro de Luanda beat Cape Town Tigers 96-86 to advance to the BAL final for the second time.

Nicholas Faust delivered another remarkable display yet again at BK Arena as the American shooting guard chipped in a game-best 23 points.

Al Ahly skipper Sofian Hamad celebrated his side’s win with the Lybia’s flag.

Lukeny Gonçalves was the second leading scorer for Petro de Luanda, dropping 16 points, while Jone Pedro had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Angolan outfit capitalised on their squad depth as 57 points were scored by players who came from the bench.

Cape Town Tigers were a few steps away from doing what they did in quarters as they cut a 13-point deficit and sent the contest to overtime, and it was Samkelo Cele, the man who fired them to semi-finals, who stepped up in the clutch situations again.

Nevertheless, the South African champions choked in overtime as they outscored 19-9 by the 2022 BAL runner-up.

Cele was the leading scorer of Cape Town Tigers, snatching 19 points and nine rebounds. Team captain Cartier Diarra added 17 points, four rebounds, and six assists, whilst Nkosinathi Sibanyoni contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds.

“We fought, and we didn’t give up. It’s a huge fact that we’re at this stage of the tournament, it gives everybody hope. I believe that what we have done had never been done by a South African team, but also we have talents,” Cape Town Tigers head coach Mungisi Ngwenya stated.

Cape Town Tigers and Rivers Hoopers will battle for a bronze medal on Friday, 31 May, at 8 p.m. Kigali time.

Petro de Luanda, who have finished in the first four teams in all previous three BAL seasons, including an 83-72 defeat to US Monastir in the 2022 final, will face off against Libya’s Al Ahly, who are taking part in the competition for the first time, in the final on Saturday.

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