Egyptian giants Al Ahly were crowned champions of the third season of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), following Saturday’s 80-65 comfortable victory over Senegal’s AS Douanes in the final held at a sold out BK Arena.
The playoffs of the BAL, an NBA-backed showpiece, unfolded for seven days at the BK Arena, from May 20 to 27, bringing together eight teams from eight different African countries.
In a tightly-contested final, Al Ahly took the first quarter 17-10, but AS Douanes fought back to win the second quarter 23-21 to head into half-time with a 38-33 lead in favor of the Egyptians.
In the second half, Al Ahly forward Anunwa Omot and Corey Webster formed an unstoppable combination which instantly improved their attacking intent, hence winning the third quarter 25-13.
— KIGALI DAILY NEWS (@kigalidailynews) May 27, 2023
AS Douanes tried to fight back but their 19-17 fourth quarter win was not enough to clinch the championship as Al Ahly finished the game victorious.
Omot, a South Sudanese-born forward, led Al Ahly‘s scoring with a game high 22 points in the final and was as a result awarded Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.
“It means a lot honestly, a lot of talent in South Sudan a lot of guys don’t get the same opportunity, we have young guys who are going to be a pro, it means a lot for the country, this also speaks to how people look at us as a country and it is great to show that we are more than that,” he said.
Al Ahly’s championship was coach Augustí Julbe Bosche’s third consecutive BAL title.
He first won it with Zamalek in 2021, then with US Monastir last year and now with Al Ahly.
“Well I want to thank my players and my staff, we are many, some of them couldn’t make it to Rwanda,” Bosch said.
“AS Douanes tried their best on defense, but we took care of the third quarter and fourth”.
“As a coach you have to try and make the best out of the players you have, overall you have the players understanding what you do, getting better, and better.”
The final spectacle was attended by prominent figures including President Paul Kagame, First Lady Jeannette Kagame, CAF President Patrice Motsepe, NBA deputy commissioner, Mark A Tatum, American actor, producer and comedian Forest Steven Whitaker among others.