Zamalek have emerged as the first-ever champions of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
They secured a 76-63-point victory over US Monastir on Sunday at the Kigali Arena to emerge as champions.
Though this is the Egyptian team’s second continental trophy, having won the FIBA Africa Champions Cup in 1992, it signals another shot at dominance just as the Pyramid Boys have enjoyed in football.
As reported by thebal.com, Walter Hodge, who joined Zamalek from US Monastir, was named the 2021 BAL Hakeem Olajuwon MVP award.
“The problem of US Monastir was that throughout the tournament, they never faced a team like ours,” Hodge said in the post-game presser. “When I joined Zamalek, some of my [former] US Monastir [teammates], were saying that Zamalek wasn’t a good team and I should just stay in Monastir. It’s been quite a journey,” said Hodge who averaged 13.7 points per game.
US Monastir reached the Championship game after victories over GNBC (Madagascar), Rivers Hoopers (Nigeria), Patriots BBC (Rwanda) in the group stages, and a semi-final win over AS Douanes of Senegal.
Zamalek’s remarkable win was sparked by the contributions off the bench from Souleyman Diabate, Michael Fakuade, and Chinemelu Elonu who combined for 40 points. Zamalek opened a 15-point lead with eight minutes to play and never looked back.
Diabate, one of Africa’s finest point guards, sank three of his six three-point attempts to finish with 14 points alongside a game-high six assists.
“I take full responsibility for this loss, and I want to apologise to our fans back home,” said US Monastir head coach Mounir Ben Slimen.
“Zamalek was the better team and deserved the title.”
Though Nigeria’s flag bearers Rivers Hoopers could not go beyond the group stage, they would be happy with some of the feats they attained.
One of the notable records set by the ‘KingsMen’ was Ben Uzoh’s first points in BAL, ensuring they became the first club to score a point in the history of the competition.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...