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May 29, 2024

Petro see off resilient Cape Town Tigers in overtime to return to the BAL Final

Petro de Luanda are back in the BAL Final for the first time since 2022 after seeing off a resilient Cape Town Tigers team in overtime on Wednesday night at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 2022 BAL runners-up saw their 13-point lead disappear late in the fourth quarter before the Tigers tied the game at 77-77 at the end of the regulation.
Eventually, the Angolan champions prevailed 96-86.

For the second game in a row, Petro started with Gerson Domingos, Yanick Moreira, Lukeny Goncalves, Aboubacar Gakou and Glofate Buiamba, but it was their bench that propelled them to their second victory in a row in  the 2024 BAL Playoffs.
Led by Nicholas Faust, who finished with a game-high of 23 points, Petro de Luanda’s bench outscored Cape Town Tigers’ 57-13.
Just like Faust, Jone Pedro came off the bench to finish with a double-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Lukeny Goncalves scored 15 of his 16 points from behind the arc to help Petro de Luanda improve to 2-1 in the 2024 BAL playoffs.
Yanick Moreira proved equally vital, contributing 11 points and 14 points before fouling out.

Samkelo Cele came up with yet another top performance, finishing with 19 points, but the Tigers’ poor free-throw shooting (20-for-36) proved costly.
Cape Town Tigers may have come up short against Petro, but the South African champions left the court with their heads held high.
Flosh Ngwenya’s men never backed down, and can only blame themselves for the loss after allowing Petro de Luanda to embark on an 8-0 in overtime.
Petro de Luanda tied Al Ahly SC’s season record of most three-points made (15) in a game to keep their BAL title dream alive.
On a night that Markeith Cummings, Carlos Morais and Childe Dundao combined a 0-for-14 shooting from behind the arc, Faust and Goncalves converted 7 and 5 three-pointers, respectively.

Reflecting on the loss, Tigers shooting guard Ngor Manyang admitted that: “It came down to being prepared, being locked in from the jump-ball. They were the aggressors tonight, we came out a little passive; there were patches where we had a few mental lapses and they punished us."
“For me, making shots would have helped the team as well,” Manyang acknowledged.
After causing the biggest upset of the 2024 BAL season by eliminating FUS Rabat in the Quarter-Finals, Cape Town Tigers had a similar game plan for Petro de Luanda.
“This game for us was our final,” Manyang revealed, adding: “We treated it as our final because we hadn’t been here before. Coach said this is the grand finale, that’s how much it meant for us.”
Asked about a moment that separated Petro from the Tigers, Manyang said that “Out of time-out, not being ready for the inbound and [Lukeny] Goncalves hit a three-pointer. That just showed that we weren’t mentally locked in there. That little mistake really punished us, and it dictated the game at the end.”

Dundao, who finished with 6 points and a game-high of 7 assists, insisted that avoiding selfish plays was a key factor for Petro de Luanda's victory.
“We stepped on the floor knowing that we needed to stay locked in because these playoffs series have been very competitive.. But our togetherness won us the game,” Dundao explained.
Coming up as a substitute in the playoffs for the third game in a row has been a new experience for Dundao, but he appreciates the coaching staff's decision.
Dundao said: “Since coach Moreno’s arrival, he has been trying to take the most out of every player. His message has been that everyone on the team, whether they are on the bench or on the court, we all must support each other and contribute positively to the team.”
Petro de Luanda will face Al Ahly Ly in the 2024 BAL Final on Saturday, June 1 while Cape Town Tigers will face Rivers Hoopers in the Third-Place Game on Friday, May 31.