Basketball Africa League: the 2nd day of the Nile Conference begins

Cape Town Tigers vs Petro de Luanda

Theoretically, Petro de Luanda is the favorite to secure one of the four tickets available for Nile Conference teams for May’s Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers in Kigali, but the Angolan champions face a test difficult when they face BAL debutants Cape Town Tigers. Sunday in Cairo.

The South African champions are new to the African basketball scene, but they have an intriguing starting lineup that can make them dream big.

Pieter Prinsloo, a 6ft 10in centre, who represented his native South Africa at AfroBasket 2017, made a name for himself playing professionally in Europe and Latin America. He could be invaluable for the Tigers in the painted area where Petro relies on Jone Pedro and Yanick Moreira – two of Africa’s best crosses.

Jamel Artis, one of three former NBA players in the Nile Conference, is expected to rock Cape Town at both ends of the court, and the two – Evan Ganapamo and Billy Preston – a duo that played major roles in the Road to BAL qualifications, remains the engines of the Tigers.

With eight players from the BAL’s inaugural season, Petro is in familiar territory.

With the exception of Cape Verdean Anderson Correia and Central African Republic rookie Thierry Darlan, the core of former African champions Petro de Luanda have represented the Angolan national team at some point in their careers.

Petro have a productive bench, they have terrific shooters, they move the ball at a high pace, but if Cape Town are to upset the Angolan champions, their bench will have to desperately step in and contribute, and more importantly they need to be able to protect the perimeter line.

“Our ultimate goal is to win all five games here in Cairo, but we also know that they won’t be easy games,” Abou Gakou said in an exclusive interview with prom.nba.com.

The 24-year-old, who missed BAL’s inaugural season after testing positive for COVID days before the tournament, recalled BAL’s tenacity: “We made unforgivable mistakes last year in Kigali, but this season , we are looking to improve things and fight for the title. We also know that we cannot underestimate anyone.

Petro arrived in Cairo a week after defeating local rivals and Africa’s most successful basketball club, Primeiro de Agosto, in the Angola Cup final.

“We are a solid team and we are ready to face anything that comes our way in the BAL,” added Gakou.

Meanwhile, Ganapamo noted that if they play at their best “we have a good chance of shocking a lot of people in this tournament,” the Central African international player pointed out.

“We are ready to play, and I hope things can go the way we have prepared this team.”

Armed Forces and Police (FAP) against BC Espoir Fukash

Hope Fukash’s cheerful and attractive play didn’t last long, even with NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo cheering them on from the sidelines, the Congolese champions began their Basketball Africa League conference campaign ( BAL) Nile with a 77-60 defeat against FAP on Sunday in Cairo.

It was Espoir Fukash’s third consecutive defeat against FAP in the last six months.

The game started more like a duel between Joel Almeida and Bobo Kasasa, with the latter giving Espoir Fukash a 24-18 lead late in the first quarter.

Almeida was perfect in the opening ten minutes, having made all four of his three-point attempts to finish with 12 points.

Kasasa, on the other hand, was 4 for 5 from the field, including a perfect 3 for 3 from behind the arc to finish with 12 points, but he would score two more points for the rest of the game.

Things seemed to be going according to plan for Espoir Fukash, who trailed by six points early on but took the lead through aggressive and suffocating defense, which forced FAP to return the ball eight times in the first quarter.

At this point in the match, Espoir Fukash’s aggression from both ends of the field began to pay off.

With Mutombo cheering on his compatriots for every positive action they took, Espoir Fukash extended their lead to 12 points, but somehow they headed to the locker room with a slim 41-point lead. 40 at halftime.

Things looked totally different in the second half.

Morman Deshaun Lamar’s three-pointer early in the third quarter not only gave the FAPs their first lead since the first quarter (44-41), but it also put the Cameroon champions on a 10-0 run, and they were never left behind again.

Almeida scored 21 of his game-high 23 points, behind the arc Lamar, the other FAP player to score in double figures, contributed 13 points.

Lamar limped off the field after colliding with an opponent late in the third, and never returned.

“He became one of us. He is fully integrated into the team. Tonight he won a final for us,” FAP head coach Francois Enyegue said of Almeida.

Lamar added: “He [Joel Almeida] really does me better in the gym. We compete by shooting three, two. He was definitely feeling it tonight. He’s more of a veteran for us. We expect him to lead us through the game, and he did a good job tonight.

Speaking about his injury, Lamar said: “I tried to make a move, I stepped on his foot, and it twisted a bit. Ice for the rest of the night, and we’ll see if I’ll be ready to go tomorrow morning. But I don’t think it’s too bad, but I’ll be good and ready to play for the next two games.

Kasasa led Espoir Fukash with 14 points, and Rolly Fula contributed 12.

“We should know better now. If we make a lot of mistakes against a team like FAP, it’s over,” Fula noted when discussing their 26 turnovers.

“We can’t do so many turnovers and we need to communicate better during the game,” Fula admitted.

About Kimberly Alley

Check Also

Cooperation, compliance with the key points of the PBA-Japan B. League discussion

Philstar.com September 17, 2022 | 10:51 a.m. TOKYO — The officials of the Philippine Basketball …