The 2022 Basketball Africa League Playoffs tipped off on Saturday, May 21 at the Kigali Arena with an opening ceremony featuring the team captains from all eight playoff teams: Angola’s Petro de Luanda, Morocco’s AS Salé, Rwanda’s REG, Cameroon’s F.A.P, Tunisia’s US Monastir, South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers and Guinea’s S.L.A.C.
Cameroon’s FAP and Angola’s Petro de Luanda move on to semifinals
Action continues with four teams now through to the semifinals of the 2022 Basketball Africa League Playoffs
Quarterfinal Game 1 Recap: Petro de Luanda vs. AS Salé
The first quarterfinal game featured Petro de Lunda, which advanced from the Nile Conference after going 4-1 in the group phase, against AS Salé which advanced from the Sahara Conference group phase after going 3-2.
Petro’s captain Carlos Morais converted the first basket of the 2022 BAL Playoffs with a three-point field goal which sparked a 13-4 run to open the game. AS Salé ended the first quarter on a 12-7 run to pull within four to end the first quarter down 16-20.
Ousmande Drame kept AS Salé in striking distance by making 5/6 field goals for a game-high 15 first-half points to go along with eight rebounds. Morais ended the half with a three-point field goal, marking Petro’s 10th three pointer of the half on just 19 attempts, heading into the break up 50-35.
Petro started the second half right where they left off by scoring five straight points ignited by another three pointer from Morais. AS Sale responded with a six-point run after Amadou Abdoulaye Harouna sunk a three and teammate Carlos Masa made three consecutive free throws.
Harouna hit back-to-back threes to start the fourth quarter cutting the deficit but Morais poured in a quick seven points to extend Petro’s lead back to 20. AS Salé made one last run following a scoring burst from BAL leading scorer Terrel Stoglin, cutting the deficit to nine with just over three minutes left. Petro maintained a double-digit lead to end the game winning 102-89.
Morais finished with a game-high 27 points. Dundão chipped in 19 points and five assists and Gonçalves recorded a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double for Petro. AS Salé was paced by Harouna (20 points), Stoglin (19 points) and Drame (19 points and 13 rebounds). Petro advances to the 2022 BAL Playoffs Semifinals on May 25.
Quarterfinal Game 2 Recap: REG vs. F.A.P
The second game of the day featured Cameroon’s FAP vs. Rwanda’s REG in front of a packed arena.
REG’s Cleveland Thomas Jr. scored the first basket of the game inciting a thunderous roar from the home crowd. FAP’s leading scorer Joel Almeida scored six quick points to give his team a 10-4 lead early in the first. After FAP extended its lead to 18-7, Thomas Jr. answered by converting four consecutive scores, including two three pointers, to bring REG within one point. FAP responded with a five-point scoring run to end the quarter up 23-17.
FAP entered halftime up 36-31 after leading for all but 1:38 of the first half despite shooting 9/17 from the free throw line. Almeida led FAP in scoring with nine first-half points and Thomas paced REG with 12 first-half points.
REG opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 run capped by a three-point basket by Kenneth Gasana to make it a one possession game for the first time since early in the second quarter. Up two with three minutes left to go, FAP forced a turnover which led to a fast break layup to extend its lead to 61-57 with two minutes left.
With just 14.5 seconds, REG’s Ndizeye was fouled shooting a three and converted all three free throws to bring the score to 63-65. REG then sent FAP’s Alexis Wangmene to the line with 10 seconds left and the big man hit one free throw to give FAP a three-point lead.
REG drove down the court with seven seconds left and Thomas got a clean look but couldn’t connect on what would have been a game-tying three at the buzzer and FAP went on to win 66-63.
FAP had three players score in double figures: Morman (14 points), Almeida (10 points) and Byers (10 points). NBA Academy Africa prospect Ulrich Chomche, who is playing with FAP as part of the BAL Elevate program, gave his team a nice lift off the bench scoring four points and pulling down eight rebounds. Thomas scored a game-high 23 points in the defeat.
FAP will play Petro de Lunda in the BAL semifinals on May 25.