Home Sports BAL 2024: Libya’s Al Ahly, Cape Town Through To Semi-finals

BAL 2024: Libya’s Al Ahly, Cape Town Through To Semi-finals

by Eddy Abayisenga
11:30 pm

 It was a bittersweet day for the debutants as Al Ahly of Libya booked a semi-finals berth after outdoing the title holder, Egypt’s Al Ahly, on Sunday in the BAL 2024 quarter-finals undergoing at Kigali’s BK Arena, whilst FUS Rabat were wiped out by Cape Town Tigers.

Libya’s Al Ahly defeated the Egyptian outfit 86-77 against all odds, and Majok Deng starred in the victory as the South Sudanese forward chipped in a game-high 25 points and snatched nine rebounds. His compatriot Lual Acuil added 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Robert Golden had 23 points.

Both teams played out an intense-defensive game in the first two quarters, although the Libyan side demonstrated superiority, taking a 38-36 advantage to the halftime break.

After the break, Ivan Jermic’s side refined their poise on the court as they scaled up the lead to six points at the end of the third quarter.

From then forward, they stayed at the forefront of the contest, closing the final quarter with an 86-77 win against Al Ahly of Egypt, who had lost their classification clash to FUS Rabat on Friday.

Tony Mitchell had a team-high 17 points for the 2023 BAL victors, and Ehab Amin and Gendy Abdelhalim also had two digits on the scoresheet with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“Beating a team like Al Ahly is not easy, it’s like beating Real Madrid in football. This is one of the best teams in Africa,” said Libya’s Al Ahly head coach Ivan Jermic in a post-game press conference.

“The fact that we beat them twice in our conference may have affected us,” Al Ahly of Egypt head coach Agustin Bosch stated.

Meanwhile, Cape Town clinched a close-fought 91-88 triumph over FUS Rabat in overtime and a first-ever BAL semi-finals spot in what should be one of the most gripping matchups in this year’s edition.

The South African team, who had crashed out in the quarter-finals of the competition last year, put forth a magnificent display, battling back from a first-quarter loss.

The game began on a fierce note, and the Moroccan side were the first to seize a quarter win, triumphing 17-15 in the first quarter.

Mungisi Ngwenya’s team were resolved in the second quarter, and Ngor Manyang stepped up and sank a three-point buzzer-beater to fire them into the break with a 44-41 lead.

There were drama scenes in the dying time at BK Arena as Samkelo Cele sent the contest to overtime with a three-point buzzer beater and tied it to 83-83, before Cape Town Tigers sealed a huge victory.

The South African combo guard was the man of the night, scoring 30 points for Cape Town Tigers, whereas Nkosinathi Sibanyoni contributed 16 points and a game-high 25 rebounds. Team skipper Cartier Diarra sank 15 points.

The leading scorer for FUS Rabat was Aliou Diarra, grasping 18 points and 16 rebounds. Mohamed Sylla and Kendrick Brown added 15 points apiece.

Libya’s Al Ahly will battle it out against the victorious from a quarter-final clash between Rivers Hoopers and US Monastir, which is slated for 27 May at 5 p.m.

Cape Town Tigers will face the winner from a quarter-final matchup between AS Douanes and Petro de Luanda, which is due on 27 May at 8 p.m.

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