BAL

Berthe, Diarra power Stade Malien in win over FAP

Temps de lecture : 2 mn đź•—

ABIDJAN (Cote D’Ivoire) – The occasion was electrifying on Monday night at Palais des Sports Treichville in Abidjan as Stade Malien Bamako outclassed Forces Armes et Police (FAP) 65-52 for the second shocking result of the West Division Elite 16 Round.

It followed a Bangui Sporting Club’s 65-52 win over former African champions AS Sale.

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Stade Malien entered the game as underdog giving the pedigree of two-time Basketball Africa League participant FAP.

Souleymane Berthe and Aliou Fadiala Diarra combined for 25 points to help Stade Malien open their West Division campaign with the important win.

20-year-old Diarra was exceptional, registering his first double-double of 10 and 14 rebounds.

Cape Verde international players Joel Almeida and Kenneti Mendes, the only two FAP players to score in double digits, finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

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Yves-Louis Ngaransou’s team-high 12 rebounds, Etienne Tametong Kalume’s 6 assists did little difference to FAP, a team that reached the BAL Semi-Finals last May.

GAME HEROES: No doubt both Souleymane Berthe and Aliou Fadiala Diarra were the main reason Stade Malien improved to 3-1 in the Road to BAL process.

Both players have the gut to take on any opposition without a blinking of an eye as their efficiency rating of evident of 11 and 15 showed.

TURNING POINT: Although the game looked balanced early on, Stade Malien looked in total control of their destiny, leading by double digits for most of the second half. As much as FAP tried to turn things around, the Bamako-based team never panicked.

STATS DON’T LIE: While both sides match up to each on the board (47-47), Stade Malien enjoyed more points from assists (16-12) they also turned the ball over lesser than their opponent.

A number of careless situations with the ball, which resulted in 24 FAP turn-overs hurt the Cameroonian champions the most.

FAP will take on Nueva Era BBC of Equatorial Guinea on Day-2 of the Road to BAL Elite 16 Round while Stade Malien will battle it out against group leader SLAC of Guinea in a table topping race.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a big win for a Road to BAL debutant who never looked intimidated by a more experienced opponent. Whatever Stade Malien’s outcome in the Elite 16 Round this may turn out as a huge morale booster for the Bamako side.

THEY SAID: “We actually did not underrated Stade Malien as most people might want to believe, but they showed better hunger than us and they ran the floor better, but on behalf of my teammates we are promising a better outing in our subsequent games” – FAP forward, Pierre Cedric Essome.

“I am happy to be on the winning side but basketball fans should expect better performance from us because we are not in Abidjan for sight seeing” – Stade Malien forward, Efe Uwadiae-Odigie.

Earlier in the day Seydou Legacy Athletique Club (SLAC) of Guinea defeated Nueva Era Basketball Club of Equatorial Guinea 91-69 with Nigeria import Emeka Michael Nwabuzor leading the floor with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.


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