Petro de Luanda started their Basketball Africa League’s (BAL) Nile Conference campaign with a statement on Sunday night after beating Cape Town Tigers 90-61.
Although BAL debutant Cape Town led the former African champions by five in the opening quarter, the Angolan champions’ numbers spoke volumes about their BAL intentions this year.
The 29-point winning margin is largest in the BAL 2022 so far, and Petro’s 58 rebounds have become the most any team has recorded in the current season.
The Tigers competed for most of the first two quarters, but giving up 16 three-pointers, and struggling to protect the perimeter line proved costly for the South African champions. And to make matters worse for the Tigers, they could only convert eight of their 15 free-throw attempts.
Carlos Morais was 5-for-11 from behind the arc to finish with a game-high 23 points, Olimpio Cipriano scored his 12 points from long range, and Childe Dundao contributed 11 points to complete Petro’s trio with 10 points or more each.
“It was important to start this tournament with this big win because first games are always difficult, and my players interpreted it correctly,” said Petro de Luanda Head Coach Jose Neto.
Petro’s 16 three-pointers are the second highest in the current BAL season. Rwanda Energy Group (REG) hold the record for most three-pointers after hitting 20 in a 94-89 win against Ferroviario da Beira in Dakar in March.
Evan Ganapamo led the way for Cape Town with 17 points, and three other Tigers – Ben Myourgh, Myck Kabongo, and Nkosinathi Sibanyoni contributed 10 points each.
But playing without former NBA player Jamel Artis and Billy Preston – who sat out for health concerns – proved challenging for Cape Town.
“This wasn’t our best performance, but under the circumstances, we did very well,” said Cape Town Tigers Head Coach Relton Booysen.
“I like the way the guys fought. We held Petro for two quarters until the third quarter.”
Petro de Luanda led for most of the regulation, and coach Neto was allowed to use 11 players who scored at least one point each.
One of the biggest differences between the Tigers and Petro was the two teams’ rotations with Petro’s bench outscoring Cape Town’s 37-14.