Basketball Africa League (BAL)

BAL: Reigning champs Zamalek, Petros de Luanda earn wins

Reigning Basketball Africa League champion Zamalek (Egypt) takes on Cape Town Tigers (South Africa) in Nile Conference action.

BAL Day 10: Zamalek vs. Cape Town

On the day that Zamalek became the first team to reach the 100-point mark in 2022 Basketball Africa League (BAL) season, the reigning champions dismantled Cape Town Tigers 101-77 to stay perfect in the league.

The 24-point might seem an easy victory, but it wasn’t as Zamalek head coach Will Voigt later admitted and the 12 lead changes attested.

For most of the first half the Tigers asked Zamalek questions that they failed to respond.

Cape Town even led 36-29 – their biggest lead in the game – and headed to the locker room with a 40-36 advantage.

A Cape Town win over Zamalek seemed improbable at the beginning of the game, but it quickly turned into a possibility until starters Myck Kabongo and Pieter Prinsloo got into foul trouble late in the second quarter.

With three fouls each before the break coach Relton Booysen had no alternative but take Kabongo and Prinsloo out of the game to protect them from an early

Zamalek opened the third quarter determined to turn things around, but Booysen’s team stayed put for the first five minutes in the third.

However, a strong fourth quarter where they outscored Cape Town 34-21 was everything Zamalek needed to close the game out.

“It didn’t feel like cruising,” Voigt insisted in the post-game press conference.

“That’s a good Cape Town team, a much different team from the team that played against Petro. They missed their two best players in the first game. We were down at the half. That was a hard-fought win. Our guys did a really good job.”

Edgar Sosa sparked Zamalek’s offense with 25 points, Ike Diogu, Anas Mahmoud – who recorded his second straight double-double -, Mikhael McKinney and Eslam Mohamed combined for 58 Zamalek points.

It was Zamalek’s eighth straight BAL win ahead of the most anticipated game in the Nile Conference against Petro de Luanda on Friday, April 15.

“I definitely don’t think we underestimated them,” Sosa said in the aftermath of the game.

“We knew their talent and strength coming in to this game. In the first half, coach just told us we were lacking energy. We were playing their game, a slow-paced game. At halftime coach just old us that we need to step up a little bit, push the tempo because they were playing a short rotation, that’s what we did and it worked to our benefit.”

Meanwhile, Cape Town dropped to 0-2 with three games remaining.

In his BAL debut, Billy Preston led all players in scoring with 26 points, former NBA Jamel Artis, who also played his first BAL game, contributed 11 points, Evans Ganapamo came up with an inspiring performance of 14 points, but Zamalek proved more efficient in the end.

“We failed to stick to our structure,” said Cape Town Tigers center Nkosinathi Sibanyoni, who contributed 6 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks off the bench.

“We failed to listen to what our coaches needed us to do. If you can look at the first and second quarter we played very well. We were going head-to-head against the champs. It’s our only first time in the BAL. We are getting better enough.”

Asked if foul trouble affected the team Sibanyoni replied: “I don’t think it has affected our game. It’s them putting their bodies on the line. It’s a good thing, but somehow it affected us because they are our starters and we rely on them as much as they rely on us.”

BAL Day 10: Petro de Luanda vs. Cobra Sport

It’s unanimous that Petro de Luanda’s suffocating defense paved the way for their 92-56 victory against Cobra Sports on Tuesday night in Cairo.

The more the South Sudan champions tried to change the course of events the more Petro de Luanda extended their lead.

By the end of the opening quarter, the former African champions enjoyed a comfortable 37-13 lead.

Cobra Sports forward Mayan Kiir attributed his team’s second defeat in as many games not only to Petro de Luanda’s aggressiveness but also to Yanick Moreira.

“The big man, number 2 [Yanick Moreira], he played a great game. He was all overdoing everything,” said Kiir.

Indeed, Moreira who started for the first time in the Nile Conference dominated on both ends of the floor.

His scoring came on everything from driving layups, skyhook shots, and, of course, dunks, many dunks throughout the game.

Moreira was 7-for-9 from the field to finish with 14 points in 14:45 minutes.

Talking to, Moreira dismissed his impact on the game: “I have just set the tone early. My coach told me I was starting tonight. I said, ok, I am ready to go. When I was out there, I got the first layup, got the first dunk, that’s how we started the game. I didn’t really do anything special. I didn’t force anything. I got my teammates some shots, and that’s how we need to continue to play for the rest of this tournament.”

Aboubacar Gakou, who finished the opening quarter with as many points (13) as the entire Cobra Sports team, led the way with a game-high of 17 points, Lukeny Goncalves added 12 points, and Jone Pedro contributed 10 points for Petro de Luanda.

In what was Petro de Luanda’s second straight win in the Nile Conference, Jose Neto’s team led by as many as 41 points at some point in the game.

Padiet Wang, the only Cobra Sports player to score in double figures, finished with 15 points, but turning the ball over continued to be a major issue for the Juba-based team.

“Turnovers? We have to fix that immediately. We had 27 [turnovers] as a team, that’s one main area that we have to fix. If we fix that, we will be good in the next three games,” Wang exclaimed.

He continued: “We have to forget about this game and focus on our next game. We need to fix our mistakes. After a game like this, people are usually down. I just try to keep the spirits up. We can’t carry this type of mood to the next game.”

Petro de Luanda never trailed, their bench provided a major contribution of 41 points, that’s something coach Neto calls “job well done by my players who keep interpreting our game plan perfectly.”