APR, Rivers Hoopers register first BAL victories

Devine Eke in action for the Hoopers in the Basketball Africa League in Dakar on Saturday
Devine Eke in action for the Hoopers in the Basketball Africa League in Dakar on Saturday
Image: BAL/Getty Images

Rwanda’s Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) defeated Tunisia’s US Monastir 89-84 in an overtime nail-biter, and Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers beat Senegal’s AS Douanes 77-68 when the BAL’s Sahara Conference tipped off for the third consecutive year at the Dakar Arena in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday.

It was a dream start for APR, with Adonis Filer and Obadiah Noel combining for 48 points, and Axel Mpoyo adding 15 points and seven rebounds on a night where the team struggled to make shots, but made up for it defensively forcing Monastir’s 20 turnovers.

Chris Crawford led US Monastir with 21 points and seven assists, while 2022 Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year Ater Majok recorded 12 points and nine rebounds.

Game Highlights US Monastir vs APR

In the second game of the day, Hoopers’ Devine Eke scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, making some key plays down the stretch. 

Will Perry added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and the Hoopers ended the opening night on top of the Sahara Conference. 

They hope to solidify their top position when they meet APR in their second game on Sunday.

Home team AS Douanes was led by Mike Fofana (14 points) and Chris Obekpa (14 rebounds). AS Douanes will take on US Monastir this afternoon, with each team looking for their first win.

The highlights of the opening day also included performances of Senegalese music artists Ngaaka Blindé and Daara J Family.

All the teams in the Sahara Conference will play each other twice, with the top two teams joining Morocco’s FUS Rabat, Angola’s Petro de Luanda, SA’s Cape Town Tigers, Egypt’s Al Ahly and Libya’s Al Ahly Ly in the BAL Playoffs and Finals in Kigali, Rwanda later this month.

Game Highlights AS Douanes vs Rivers Hoopers

The last playoff spot will be decided between Central African Republic’s Bangui SC and the team ending third in the Sahara Conference.

The 2024 BAL season is reaching fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages through free-to-air and paid TV broadcast partnerships.

In SA, fans can watch all the Sahara Conference games on SuperSport. Every BAL game also live-streams on the NBA App, NBA.com, BAL.NBA.com and the BAL’s YouTube channel. 

Sunday's Sahara Conference fixtures: APR vs Rivers Hoopers (4.30pm SA time); AS Dounaes vs US Monastir (7.30pm SA time). — Basketball Africa League




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