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Basketball Africa League

AS Douanes, Al Ahly battle for Basketball Africa League title

After three months of intense basketball, a new champion will be crowned when Al Ahly of Egypt and AS Douanes go head to head at the 2023 Basketball Africa League Final scheduled to hold at the BK Arena in Kigali on Saturday.The two teams who finished second in their respective Conferences are on the verge of winning the trophy for the very first time, and the first BAL champion from West Africa in AS Douanes could emerge.The Senegalese champions are on a five-game winning streak after losing their first two opening games in the Sahara Conference while Al Ahly have lost just one of their seven games played this season which came against Petro de Luanda in the fourth game of the Nile Conference in Cairo.On route to the final, Al Ahly saw off the host Rwanda Energy Group Basketball in front of a sell out crowd before digging deep to defeat an aggressive and youthful Stade Malien team to reach their first ever final in the BAL.Al Ahly (6-1) is led by head coach Agustin Julbe Bosch (Spain), who led Egypt’s Zamalek to the BAL Championship in the league’s inaugural season in 2021, and by 2023 Egyptian Super League MVP and former Texas A&M-Corpus Cristi and University of Oregon guard Ehab Amin, who leads Al Ahly in points, rebounds and assists in the playoffs.On the other hand, AS Douanes knocked out Mozambican champions Ferroviario da Beira in the quarter final and went on to cause a major upset on last year’s finalist and this season’s title favourites, Petro de Luanda of Angola.Former NBA Academy Africa prospect Jean Jacques Boissy led AS Douanes with 28 points in their 92-86 semifinal victory over Petro de Luanda (Angola) who were undefeated at that time. At 16 years old, NBA Academy Africa prospect and BAL Elevate player Khaman Maluach (South Sudan) is the youngest player ever to make the BAL Finals.Meanwhile, AS Douanes coach Mamadou Gueye has been awarded BAL coach of the year for getting his team back on track after their first two defeats and has since maintained a 5 game winning streak. He also led his team to defeat last season’s finalists, US Monastir (2022 champions) and Petro de Luanda in the Conference and semi final respectively.

Credit: AIPS

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