Edgar Sosa and Ike Diogu combined for 40 points on Tuesday night to help Zamalek clinch the 2022 Basketball Africa League (BAL) Nile Conference title in Cairo.
Sosa had a 10-of-22 shooting, including three 3pts to finish with a game-high of 27 points, and Diogu added 13 points and 11 rebounds to propel Zamalek to a 77-63 win over FAP.
The White Knights closed their Nile Conference campaign undefeated in five games.
The 14-point win might seem an easy one, but it wasn’t as Zamalek head coach Will Voigt later described it as a “hard-fought game.”
Both teams stepped on the floor already qualified for the playoffs next month in Kigali, but even so, FAP pushed Zamalek to the limit.
The Cameroonian champions led 12-11 at the end of the opening quarter, and closed the half trailing by two (35-33).
For every Zamalek’s attempt to separate from FAP, the latter responded with impressive plays.
And leading the way for FAP was Brice Bidias and Cedric Kenfack, who combined for 33 points.
Bidias drilled two of his four three-point attempts to finish with 17 points, Kenfack came off the bench to contribute 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Addressing the media after the game, Voigt shared his thoughts on the win that kept Zamalek undefeated in the history of the BAL with a 11-0 mark.
“We didn’t have an easy game. It was a fight. We not only won for our fans, but we wanted to represent Egypt as a whole," Voigt said.
"We could have just played our bench and rest everybody, but Zamalek, what we represent, is more important than that. It was a hard-fought game.”
Although it was an evenly-matched game, two things that separated both teams were the free-throw efficiency and Sosa.
While Zamalek finished 15-for-15 from the charity stripe, FAP could only make half of their free-throw attempts (7-for-14).
As a recognition of Sosa’s impact, a section of Zamalek fans gave Sosa a standing ovation, and the Dominican Republican player reciprocated with claps.
Sosa was unstoppable on both ends of the floor. He easily found a way to create open shots.
“They played really well,” Bidias admitted.
“Even when we played aggressive defense, they managed to find an open man, and they were very efficient.
“We knew we were already qualified, but our mindset was to compete every single game with the same intensity.”
The 2022 NILE CONFERENCE STANDINGS:
- Zamalek (5-0)
- Petro de Luanda (4-1)
- Cape Town Tigers (2-3)
- FAP (2-3)
- Cobra Sports (1-4)*
- Espoir Fukash (1-4)*
*Eliminated from the playoffs contention.