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KIGALI (Rwanda) – US Monastir of Tunisia won the second edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) on Saturday after beating Petro de Luanda of Angola 83-72.
Thousand of fans flocked into the BK Arena in the Rwandan capital of Kigali to witness US Monastir claim its first continental trophy after several attempts.
Last year, the Monastir-based club finished second in the inaugural BAL after falling short to Egypt’s Zamalek.
Monastir had last finished on the podium of a major continental competition in 2017 when it finished third in the FIBA Africa Champions Cup held in Rades, on the outskirts of the Tunisian capital Tunis.
Michael Dixon faces Gerson Goncalves Lukeny
In the first-ever meeting between US Monastir and Petro de Luanda the Tunisian champions fought back from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to deny the Angolan champions its third continental trophy. Petro won two Africa Champions Cup in 2006 and 2015.
Prior to US Monastir’s triumph, on Friday, Zamalek beat Forces Armees et Police (FAP) from Cameroon 97-74 to finish third.
The 2022 BAL Quarter-Finals consisted of the top four teams from the Sahara and Nile Conference.
Hosts Rwanda Energy Group (REG), AS Sale of Morocco, Cape Town Tigers of South Africa and Seydou Athletique Club (SLAC) of Guinea, all saw their 2022 BAL’s aspirations come to an end in the Quarter-Finals.
Anas Mahmoud (left) seen here in action against FAP during the Third-Place game
FAP made history by becoming the first team from the FIBA-run Road to BAL qualifiers to reach the Semi-Finals. The other three semifinalists qualified automatically to the BAL regular reason.
Petro’s Jose Neto was voted BAL Head Coach of the Year.
US Monastir guard Michael Dixon was voted the 2022 BAL Most Valuable Player.
The 2022 BAL All-First team included Terrel Stoglin (AS Sale), Carlos Morais (Petro de Luanda), Edgar Sosa (Zamalek), Radhouane Slimane and Ater Majok of US Monastir.
Ater James Majok receives the 2022 BAL Defensive Player of the Year from NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo
The 2.11m (6ft 11in ) center Majok received the 2022 Dikembe Mutombo Defensive Player of the Year.
The 2022 All-BAL Defensive Team consisted of Childe Dundao and Abou Gakou (Petro de Luanda), Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza (REG), Brice Bidias (FAP), and Ater Majok.
Egypt international player Anas Mahmoud of Zamalek won the BAL Sportsmanship award.
Among the fans inside the BK Arena were FIBA President Hamane Niang, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and NBA deputy commissionner Mark Tatum.
Addressing the media BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall noted that the “BAL offers a platform for young talented players to stay home and play for their clubs. The fact that we mandated that each team must have two players under the age of 22 years of age is a signal that we want to focus on identify and showcasing African talent. We want also to attract global talent. This is happening here in Africa.”
Fall went on saying: “We are always looking to improve and continue to innovate. We are going back to the drawing board, look at everything that happened this season, and, in the end, we’ll come up with a plan. We are looking to grow over time to become one of the best professional basketball league in the world.”
FIBA Africa President and President of the Board for the BAL Anibal Manave said: “This year’s BAL was more like what we are looking to achieve. We hosted games across three countries, which is a positive sign. Overall, it was a successful season. The Group Phase, with the 12 teams divided into two conferences of six team each, was highly competitive. It’s been good to realise that clubs and national federations are embracing the BAL purpose.”
“The BAL is more than the competition between African clubs. It’s a comprehensive project. We are training coaches, referees and clubs administrators to make the BAL better.”
FIBA (fiba.basketball) – the world governing body for basketball, is an independent association formed by 212 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognized as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
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About the BAL
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa. The BAL, which is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America. Fans can follow the BAL @theBAL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and register their interest in receiving more information at www.bal.nba.com.
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