Basketball: Zamalek win NBA's Africa League after defeating US Monastir 76-63

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 May 2021

The BAL is the NBA's first collaboration to operate a league outside North America

Zamalek wins BAL

Zamalek won the inaugural edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) after defeating US Monastir of Tunisia 76-63 in the final in Rwanda on Sunday.

The White Knights dominated the game from the outset, ending it with a 13-point lead.

The BAL is the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America. It was scheduled to tip off in March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic reached Africa.

Zamalek reached the final after outclassing two-time African champions Petro de Luanda of Angola 89-71 in Saturday’s first semi-final of the 12-team tournament.

Foreign quartet Walter Hodge, Souleyman Diabate, Michael Fakuade and Chinemelu Elonu played a vital role in Zamalek's achievement, with Hodge named as the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP). The award is named after Nigerian-American basketball legend Hakeem Olajuwon.

Walter Hodge
Walter Hodge receives the Hakeem Olajuwon MVP award

Diabate, Fakuade and Chinemelu, who joined Zamalek just before the tournament, will not play in the domestic league due to a cap on the number of foreign players in the country.

This title is the second for Zamalek after their FIBA Africa Champions Cup triumph in 1992.

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