Home Sports Cape Town Tigers vs. Rivers Hoopers for Third Place: May The Best Man Win

Cape Town Tigers vs. Rivers Hoopers for Third Place: May The Best Man Win

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:13 pm
The 2024 BAL Third-Place Game, scheduled for Friday, May 31 at BK Arena in Kigali, highlights the unexpected twists and turns of this season.
Neither the Cape Town Tigers nor the Rivers Hoopers were highly ranked at the beginning of BAL Season 4, yet they have significantly shaped the season’s surprising conclusion.
The Cape Town Tigers captured attention by defeating the top-seed FUS de Rabat 91-88 in an overtime quarter-final, a victory hailed as the greatest achievement for any South African team. Similarly, the Rivers Hoopers secured a narrow victory over the 2022 BAL champions US Monastir 92-88 in their quarter-final match.
Both teams aimed to create unexpected final in BAL history but ultimately fell short in the Semi-Finals, each losing in overtime. The Rivers Hoopers were narrowly defeated 89-83 by Al Ahly Ly, while the Cape Town Tigers succumbed to Petro de Luanda 96-86. This sets the stage for an intriguing battle for the bronze medal, marking the first time these teams will face each other in the BAL.
Despite reaching the Third-Place Game, their paths to the postseason were quite different. The Rivers Hoopers clinched the 2024 Sahara Conference title with a 4-2 record, while the Cape Town Tigers secured their postseason spot by finishing third in the Kalahari Conference and qualifying as one of the top third-placed teams across all three conferences.
As they prepare to face off on Friday, both teams hold a postseason record of 1-2. The Hoopers have played more games (9) than the Tigers (7), partly due to Dynamo’s disqualification in the Kalahari Conference. Postseason statistics reveal the following:
•Hoopers center Peter Olisemeka leads the league with an average of 5 offensive rebounds per game.
•Hoopers guard Kelvin Amayo averages a team-best 7 assists per game.
•Hoopers guard Will Perry scores an average of 18 points per game, leading his team.
•Tigers’ guard Samkelo Cele is among the season’s top scorers with an average of 21 points per game, just one point behind Jo-Lual Acuil Jr.
The Rivers Hoopers experienced their first postseason overtime game against Al Ahly Ly, which ended in a loss, although they had previously played in the first-ever BAL double-overtime game against Rwanda’s APR during the Sahara Conference. The Hoopers average 45 rebounds per game, compared to the Tigers’ 38. The Tigers have played two overtime games in the postseason, losing one (against Petro) and winning another (against FUS Rabat).
The Rivers Hoopers average 77 points per game while allowing 80 points, whereas the Cape Town Tigers score an average of 84 points per game while conceding 90 points.
Insights from Key Players and Coaches Ahead of the 2024 BAL Third-Place Game
According to Kelvin Amayo Rivers Hoopers guard, “The third-place game means a lot to me and to the club itself. Nobody really thought we could get here, and we put in a tremendous amount of work, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t drop. I can’t wait to play the third-place game and continue to showcase who we are.”
Flosh Ngwenya, Cape Town Tigers Head Coach said: “For us, it’s huge. The fact that we are at this stage of the tournament gives everybody hope. What we have done has never been done before by any South African team. The feeling of competing for a podium place is a great feeling.”
Carter Diarra Cape Town Tigers point guard: “I know for a fact that we are going to come out motivated to play, and may we not have another close game… we’ll definitely be ready.”

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