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March 17, 2023

Champions US Monastir need to be better to beat ABC

US Monastir point guard Jerome Randle believes that they need to be better than they have been in the Sahara Conference so far.

The Tunisian champions (2-0) take on Abidjan Basket Club (1-1) on Friday, hoping to stay perfect in the Conference.

But in Randle’s words: “We have to play the game the right way; we have to be on point as far as offense, defense, execution and things that we have to do in order to move forward and qualify for the playoffs.”

The BAL reigning champions have experienced difficulties to beat Stade Malien (78-68) and Kwara Falcons( 85-75).

ABC, on the other hand, beat hosts AS Douanes (76-70) on the opening night, but lost to Rwanda Energy Group (80-73).

However, the Ivorian champions are prepared to end Monastir’s winning streak (5-0), which dates back to March 14, 2022 when they fell short to Rwanda Energy Group (REG) 77-74 at Dakar Arena.

Dakar, Senegal- March 11: Seydougou Fofana Santis #13 in action during Association Sportive des Douanes of Senegal vs ABC Fighters basketball game in Dakar Arena on March 11, 2023. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Nacer Talel/NBAE via Getty Images)

“It’s a really big game for both of us. We are just going to follow the game plan. I feel like we are going to come up with the result that we want,” said ABC forward Mike Fofana.

Monastir and ABC are facing each other for the first time in the BAL.

While the Tunisian champions are making their third straight BAL appearance, ABC are making their debut in the competition.

After leading REG by as many as 11 points and allow a 16-0 run that changed the course of the game, ABC have regrouped and feel prepared to return to winning ways, according to Fofana.

“[Coach] Liz put a great game plan. If we follow it we’ll get the result that we want.”

Just like Monastir head coach Modrag Perisic has admitted his team’s struggles early in the Sahara Conference, Randle insists that there is room for improvement.

“We definitely need a lot more improvement. I feel like the game that we played yesterday [against Kwara Falcons], it wasn’t a good game. I don’t feel like we played a great team game. It’s good that we came out with the win; You are always satisfied with getting the W. We always want to make sure you play the game the game the exact same way. I don’t think we did it collectively as a unit.”

Asking about ABC’s strongest points, Randle said: “They play hard, they are well-coached, they understand their roles. The most important thing with good teams is to understand their role.”

Fofana remains adamant that ABC has what it takes to secure one of the Sahara Conference’ four tickets for the playoffs:
“The goal is to win every game. We didn’t come out just to say that we are. We came here to win, to make a statement and do something special, that’s what we came here to do.”

Can ABC shock US Monastir? Time will tell.