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    Wednesday, April 20, 2022

    BASKETBALL AFRICA LEAGUE'S NILE CONFERENCE GAMES - April 18 Games Recap (Petro de Luanda (Angola) v. BC Espoir Fukash (DRC)

    Aboubacar Gakou set the tone for the Luanda-based team by drilling his two 3-pts before converting 3 free-throw attempts, a contribution that paced his team to a 12-2 lead

    Petro de Luanda closed their Nile Conference campaign with a comprehensive 94-64 win over Espoir Fukash Monday.

    It was the Angolan champions’ fourth win in five games in Cairo.

    On the other hand, Espoir Fukash dropped to 0-4 and are eliminated from the playoff race.

    The opening quarter looked like a 3-pt contest between Petro de Luanda players.

    Aboubacar Gakou set the tone for the Luanda-based team by drilling his two 3-pts before converting 3 free-throw attempts, a contribution that paced his team to a 12-2 lead.

    But coach Jose Neto benched him with 3:31 left in the opening 10 minutes. The former MVP of the Angolan League contributed nine points in that timespan.

    Although the 24-year-old returned for the second and third quarters, he didn’t score a single point again.

    Lukeny Gonçalves and Carlos Morais finished the first 10 minutes with a 2-for-3 shooting from behind the arc each to give Petro a 25-16 advantage.

    Neto brought in their second unit for most of the second quarter to help the two-time African champions close the half with a comfortable 50-31 lead.

    By the end of regulation, Petro finished 11-for-33 from the 3-pt line.

    But Espoir Fukash enjoyed their own success from long-range, finishing 7-for-27.

    Thierry Darlan scored more points (nine) in eight minutes off the bench than he did in his preview two games. The Central African Republic rookie also added four rebounds.

    “Thierry is a great talent. He is humble, he is a good teammate. I love him as a player,” said Gakou.

    Offensively, the Angolans were on fire. Five Petro players scored at least one 3-pt each – including center Yanick Moreira – who finished with a game-high 17 points.

    Talking about Petro’s campaign in Cairo, Gakou said: “Our goal was to win all five games. We have an unfinished business with Zamalek because we have high hopes for this second edition of the BAL.”

    And although Espoir Fukash outrebounded Petro de Luanda 52-31, they were careless with the ball, turning it over a record 31 times.

    Narcise Ambanza and Emmanuel Okorafor – the only Fukash players to score in double figures – combined for 23 points.

    But the night belonged to Petro de Luanda, who never trailed and managed their lead to 32 points in the final quarter.

    “We gave away 31 chances to win this game,” said Espoir Fukash assistant coach Emmanuel Mavomo.

    “With these many turnovers, you will never win a ball game. Credit to Petro. They prepared well against us.”

    Mavomo, who worked with most Petro de Luanda players while serving as Angola assistant coach, said that he had message to his players before the game.

    “My message going into this game was: ‘be careful because Petro has very good and talented players. Let’s try to limit the turnovers, win the board battle and play with fun,” he said.

    While it was Petro’s last game in the Nile Conference, Espoir Fukash will face Cape Town Tigers on Tuesday.

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