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June 1, 2024

Petro de Luanda are the 2024 BAL Champions

Petro de Luanda beat Al Ahly Ly 107-94 on Saturday to win the 2024 Basketball Africa League title at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

This is Petro de Luanda's first continental title since winning the 2015 FIBA Africa Champions Cup in their capital of Luanda.

The Angolan champions trailed 52-40 at the break, but managed to turn things around in the third quarter to end Al Ahly Ly's three-game winning streak in the postseason.

Nicholas Faust led the new champions with 24 points; Markeith Cummings added 20 and Cleusio Castro provided a massive performance of 10 points off the bench.

Jo-Lual Acuil Jr., who was named the 2024 BAL MVP, finished with 15 points, but his effort wasn't enough to steer the Libyan champions to glory.

Acuil Jr. is now the second South Sudanese since Nuni Omot in 2023 to win a BAL MVP award.

Petro found themselves in an unfamiliar territory as they hadn't given up 50 points in any first two quarters before, but a 11-0 run in the third quarter saw the Angolan champions take a commanding double digits lead to register yet another comeback to close the game out with a win.

Petro de Luanda's bench provided a huge lift yet again, outscoring Al Ahly Ly's 51-27.

But the biggest difference between the new champions and Al Ahly Ly was Petro de Luanda's aggressiveness on the boards where they won the rebounding battle 48-32.

"Everyone on the team knew that Cleusio would be the difference-maker in this game because of his hardworking attitude," said Lukeny Goncalves, who scored 9 of his 16 points from behind the arc."

"He was really aggressive on both ends of the floor and managed to neutralize number 41 (Jo-Lual Acuil Jr).

Goncalves went on to say that losing to AS Douanes in the 2023 BAL Semifinals wasn't a defeat. "It was a lesson that we made sure to implement this season."

"We came ready to fight. At halftime break we looked at each other in the eyes and pledged that this was our turn to win the BAL trophy. When they showed signs of fatigue in the third quarter we stepped up our aggressiveness even further. That's how we won the game," Goncalves noted.

While Petro de Luanda closed their 2024 BAL campaign with a 5-3, Al Ahly finished 6-4.

Withe the win, Petro de Luanda earned the right to represent Africa at the next FIBA InterContinental Cup next September in Singapore.