Top Eight BAL Teams to Compete at BAL Playoffs and Finals in Kigali, Rwanda from May 20-27 ; tickets On Sale Now at BAL.NBA.com.
The 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) Playoffs will tip off on Saturday, May 20 at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda and will culminate with the third BAL Finals on Saturday, May 27. The top eight teams from the league’s Sahara and Nile Conference group phases in Dakar, Senegal and Cairo, Egypt, respectively, will compete in a single-elimination tournament with the winner crowned the third BAL champion.
The quarterfinals will feature Stade Malien (Mali; 3-2) playing the Cape Town Tigers (South Africa; 2-3) at 4 p.m. CAT / 10 a.m. ET, followed by Al Ahly (Egypt; 4-1) taking on Rwanda Energy Group (REG; 3-2) at 7:30 p.m. CAT / 1:30 p.m. ET. The quarterfinals will continue on Sunday, May 21 when AS Douanes (Senegal; 3-2) plays Clube Ferroviário da Beira (CFV – Beira; Mozambique; 2-3) at 4 p.m. CAT / 10 a.m. ET, followed by Club Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Petro de Luanda; Angola; 5-0) taking on Abidjan Basketball Club (ABC Fighters; Côte d’Ivoire; 3-2) at 7:30 p.m. CAT / 1:30 p.m. ET.
All eight Playoff and Finals games will air live on American Forces Network (AFN), Canal+, ESPN (sub-Saharan Africa), NBA TV, Tencent, TV5 Monde, Visionary TV, Voice of America (VOA) and select free-to-air channels across the continent through the BAL’s broadcast partnership with the African Union of Broadcasting. The games will also livestream on NBA App (https://apo-opa.info/3leQJYr), NBA.com, Visionview.tv (https://apo-opa.info/3Hbf5uc) and BAL.NBA.com. Fans can view the complete game schedule and purchase tickets at BAL.NBA.com.
Below are notable facts and figures about the 2023 BAL season:
40,000 – More than 40,000 fans attended the Sahara and Nile Conference group phases.
1,000 – During the Sahara and Nile Conference, the BAL engaged more than 1,000 youth through BAL4HER, BAL Advance, BAL U-23 women’s camps, and Special Olympics games and clinics.
250 – More than 250 media members were credentialed to cover the Sahara and Nile Conference group phases.
226 – AS Douanes recorded a group phase-high 226 rebounds over its five games.
214 – The 2023 BAL season is reaching fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages through free-to-air and paid TV broadcast partnerships with the African Union of Broadcasting, American Forces Network (AFN), Canal+, ESPN (sub-Saharan Africa), NBA TV, Tencent, TV5 Monde, Visionary TV and Voice of America (VOA), and livestreaming on the NBA App (https://apo-opa.info/3leQJYr), NBA.com, Visionview.tv (https://apo-opa.info/3Hbf5uc) and BAL.NBA.com.
156 – The 12 BAL teams collectively featured 156 players from 22 countries across Africa, Europe, Oceania and the U.S.
100 – Petro de Luanda recorded the highest point-differential (100) of any team in group phase play.
41 – CFV – Beira guard Will Perry tied the BAL record for the most points scored in a single game after registering 41 points in a 109-97 win over S.L.A.C (Guinea). In the same game, Perry also set the BAL record for most three-point field goals in a game with nine.
34 – The 12 BAL teams featured a combined 34 former NCAA Division I players, including 27 players on the eight playoff teams.
33 – REG guard Cleveland Thomas Jr. dished out a group phase-high 33 assists.
26 – The 12 BAL teams featured 26 players who previously participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen 12 former BWB Africa campers drafted into the NBA, including 2022-23 Kia NBA MVP Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011) and 2019 NBA champion Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012).
19 – Petro de Luanda Head Coach José Neto has coached 19 BAL games, more than any other coach in league history.
17 – The 12 BAL teams featured 17 players with NBA G League experience, including seven players on playoff team rosters.
15 – Last season, AS Douanes and NBA Academy Africa center Khaman Maluach made his BAL debut with Cobra Sports (South Sudan) at age 15, becoming the youngest player in league history.
15 – 15 years after playing against 2023 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee Dwyane Wade at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Petro de Luanda shooting guard Carlos Morais faced Wade’s son Zaire when Petro de Luanda defeated the Cape Town Tigers in the Nile Conference group phase.
12 – As part of the BAL Elevate program, one NBA Academy Africa prospect once again joined each of the 12 BAL teams for the 2023 season. NBA Academy Africa is an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal, for the top high-school age prospects from across Africa and the first-of-its-kind on the continent.
6 – The 2023 BAL Playoffs will feature six of the 10 leading scorers from group phase play:
Najeal Young (CFV – Beira; U.S.) – 21.6 ppg
Souleymane Berthe (Stade Malien; Mali) – 20.4 ppg
Chris Crawford (AS Douanes; U.S.) – 20 ppg
Nuni Omot (Al Ahly; South Sudan) – 19.4 ppg
Abdoulaye Harouna (ABC Fighters; Niger) – 18.8 ppg
Will Perry (CFV – Beira: U.S.) – 18.4 ppg
6 – Petro de Luanda shooting guard Carlos Morais, who wears jersey number six, is one of the most accomplished players in the history of Angolan basketball. He is an eight-time Angolan League champion, a three-time Angolan Cup winner, and represented Angola in three FIBA Basketball World Cups (2006, 2010, 2019) and at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was also named Most Valuable Player of the 2012 FIBA Africa Champions Cup. Morais played in three preseason games with the Raptors in 2013.
5 – Five teams participated in the BAL for the first time this season: ABC Fighters (Côte d’Ivoire), Al Ahly (Egypt), City Oilers (Uganda), Kwara Falcons (Nigeria) and Stade Malien (Mali) including the first BAL teams from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda. Five teams returned for their second BAL season: Cape Town Tigers, REG, S.L.A.C and CFV-Beira. AS Douanes returned to the BAL after participating in the inaugural season in 2021.
4 – Four African players were among the top performers in group phase play: Aliou Diarra (Stade Malien; Mali) averaged 18 points per game and a group phase-high of 13.4 rebounds per game. Carlos Morais (Petro de Luanda; Angola) averaged a team-high of 17.2 points per game. Al Ahly teammates Omar Oraby (Egypt) and Nuni Omot (South Sudan) averaged 19.4 points per game and 11.8 points per game, respectively.
2 – The Cape Town Tigers featured two former NBA players: Josh Hall played in 21 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2020-21 NBA season, and Michael Gbinije played in nine games for the Detroit Pistons during the 2016-2017 season. Gbinije also won the 2015 FIBA AfroBasket Championship as a member of the Nigeria Men’s National Team.
2 – 2022 BAL champion US Monastir (Tunisia) and 2022 runner-up Petro de Luanda (Angola) are the two teams to have participated in all three BAL seasons.
1 – Petro de Luanda guard Solo Diabaté (Côte d’Ivoire), the only player to win the BAL Finals twice (with Egypt’s Zamalek in 2021 and US Monastir in 2022), is seeking his third straight BA!L championship.