Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗

Mali’s Association Sportive Police (AS Police) outscored Angola’s Petro de Luanda 28-20 in the second quarter of their Basketball Africa League (BAL) debut on Tuesday at Kigali Arena in Rwanda, but that was the best they could offer.

For most of the game, AS Police was careless in handling the ball and persisted in individual plays rather than team play.

On the other hand, Petro de Luanda played solid and consistent basketball.

Inspired by Valdelicio Joaquim, Jone Pedro and Childe Dundao, the Angolan champions were relentless for most of the game, securing a comprehensive 87-62 victory.

Joaquim converted three of his four three-point attempts to finish with 16 points; Pedro was dominant at both ends of the court contributing team-highs 17 points and 17 rebounds.

AS Police have never posed threat to the former African champions who never trailed.

Mamadou Keita led all scorers with 19 points, but he looked helpless in a game that the Luanda-based team was allowed 44 three-point attempts, making 11 of them.

“This is a really experienced team. They outplayed us in the paint, but we are going to get ready for our next game,” AS Police Head Coach Boubacar Kanoute admitted in the post-game presser.

Meanwhile, Petro de Luanda head coach Jose Neto said that making these many three-point attempt is uncharacteristic for his team, but they took their chances because “the Malian team allowed us to take those shots.”

Nigerian Jawachi Nzeakor who went scoreless in the opening ten minutes and finished with 16 points, praised his BAL experience because of the “high level that I encountered here,” he said. “This is one of toughest competitions outside the NBA, and I feel privileged to be here,” the 23-year-old said.

The team reached the BAL regular season after a 4-3 record in the qualifying campaign, but playing at this level, Kanoute admitted, “is tough, but we’re continuing to work for better results.”

Petro de Luanda have never allowed AS Police to stay in the game.

“I trust my players. This is how we structured our game, and we’ll continue to play the same way,” Neto said.

Petro de Luanda captain Carlos Morais recalled that “ every time I step on the floor, I play to win. We are here in Kigali to fight for the title. It’s a tough competition, but the best of us is yet to come.”


Petro won 84-66, but, at some point in the game, they led by as many as 30 points.

Allowing their opponents to attempt 44 three-points wasn’t a good sign of AS Police’s defence, but being out-rebounded 56-37 damaged even more their chances of trying to win their first-ever BAL game.

Unless AS Police makes defensive readjustments, they will face serious difficulties to secure one of the two tickets available for Group B for the knock-out stages.

Both Petro de Luanda and AS Police resume their BAL Group B campaign on Thursday, May 20th.



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