Home Sports BAL 2024: Historic Semifinals As New Contenders and Legends Battle for Glory

BAL 2024: Historic Semifinals As New Contenders and Legends Battle for Glory

by Annet Mugabo
11:25 am

Rivers Hoopers

The four teams remaining in the quest for this season’s BAL title are Al Ahly Benghazi (Libya), Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), Petro de Luanda (Angola), and Rivers Hoopers (Nigeria).

Rivers Hoopers, the first Nigerian team to qualify for the BAL Playoffs, will compete against Al Ahly Benghazi at 5:00 pm (EAT). Following this, Petro de Luanda will face Cape Town Tigers at 8:00 pm (EAT) for a place in the BAL Final.

This matchup marks the first encounter between Al Ahly Benghazi and Rivers Hoopers in the history of the Basketball Africa League since its inception in 2021.

Robert Golden, a standout player for Al Ahly Benghazi, reflected on their momentous victory: “I didn’t know what it meant to eliminate the reigning champions Al Ahly until I saw my teammates break down in tears of joy and happiness. It showed how important that game was to the Libyan people. We will try our best to win, even though we know it won’t be easy.”

Cape Town

On the other hand, Devine Eke, a cornerstone for Rivers Hoopers since the beginning, expressed his excitement and determination following a stellar performance against US Monastir, where he scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds: “I am so happy to play for my people and to reach the semifinals as a player for the first time. I will help my team in any way I can to make it through this stage. Whether the coach needs me in defense, attacking, or offense, I am willing to give my best so that Rivers Hoopers can reach the final. The Africa Basketball League is a competitive competition that provides great exposure for African players, and I believe that in three years, the BAL will be on another level in terms of talent and competitiveness, attracting many different players.”

This will be the first time Al Ahly Benghazi and Rivers Hoopers face each other in their BAL history. Rivers Hoopers made their BAL debut in 2021 but have only advanced to the Playoffs this season.

Subsequently, Petro de Luanda from Angola will face the Cape Town Tigers from South Africa. The Tigers and Petro have clashed four times since 2022, with their most recent encounter occurring two months ago during the 2024 Kalahari Conference, where they each secured one win. Petro de Luanda triumphed in their first three meetings, but the South African champions defended their home turf in Pretoria with an 84-78 victory on the final day of the Kalahari Conference.

Examining the statistics that propelled these teams to the semifinals reveals:

•Cape Town Tigers scored 84 points per game but conceded an average of 85 points per game.

•Petro de Luanda scored the fewest points (67) per game but also allowed the fewest points (68) per game among the four contenders.

•Rivers Hoopers averaged nearly as many points scored (75) as points conceded (76).

•Al Ahly Benghazi scored the most points (87) per game in the postseason.

Al Ahly

Each of these four teams has unique characteristics. Al Ahly Benghazi not only became the first Libyan team to qualify for the BAL but also reached the Last Four of the league in their debut attempt. Petro de Luanda remains the only team that has never missed a Semi-Final appearance since the league’s inception in 2021. Cape Town Tigers, now in their third consecutive season of the league, have made it to the semis for the first time.

Apart from Petro de Luanda, Al Ahly Benghazi, Cape Town Tigers, and Rivers Hoopers are making their first BAL Semi-Finals appearances.

Related Posts