Petro de Luanda Triumphs in 2024 Basketball Africa League Final

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Petro de Luanda wins 2024 BAL title, defeating Al Ahly.
Comeback from 12-point halftime deficit in third quarter.
Nicholas Faust scores 24 points; strong bench performance.
Petro to represent Africa at FIBA InterContinental Cup.

Historic Victory in Kigali

Petro de Luanda secured a historic victory on Saturday by defeating Al Ahly Ly 107-94 to claim the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL) title at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda. This marks their first continental championship since winning the FIBA Africa Champions Cup in 2015.

Overcoming a Challenging Start

Trailing 52-40 at halftime, Petro de Luanda faced a significant challenge but managed a remarkable comeback in the third quarter. This turnaround ended Al Ahly Ly’s three-game winning streak in the postseason and highlighted Petro’s resilience and strategic adjustments.

Key Performances

Nicholas Faust led Petro de Luanda with 24 points, showcasing his scoring prowess. Markeith Cummings contributed 20 points, while Cleusio Castro made a significant impact off the bench with 10 points. Their combined efforts were crucial in overcoming Al Ahly Ly’s initial lead.

MVP Jo-Lual Acuil Jr.’s Efforts

Despite Jo-Lual Acuil Jr.’s impressive performance of 15 points, the Libyan champions fell short. Acuil Jr., who was named the 2024 BAL MVP, became the second South Sudanese player to win this prestigious award, following Nuni Omot in 2023. However, his efforts alone could not secure victory for Al Ahly Ly.

Strategic Turnaround

Petro de Luanda’s strategic brilliance was evident in the third quarter, where they executed an 11-0 run that shifted the game’s momentum. This surge gave them a commanding lead, demonstrating their ability to adapt and respond under pressure. Notably, Petro had not conceded 50 points in the first two quarters of any game before, making their comeback even more impressive.

Bench Strength and Rebounding Dominance

One of the critical factors in Petro de Luanda’s victory was their bench strength. Their substitutes outscored Al Ahly Ly’s bench 51-27, providing crucial support and maintaining high energy levels throughout the game. Additionally, Petro dominated the rebounding battle, securing 48 rebounds compared to Al Ahly Ly’s 32. This aggressiveness on the boards played a significant role in their win.

Player Insights

Lukeny Goncalves, who scored 16 points, including nine from three-point range, highlighted the importance of Cleusio Castro’s performance. “Everyone on the team knew that Cleusio would be the difference-maker in this game because of his hardworking attitude,” Goncalves said. He also praised Castro’s defensive efforts in neutralizing Jo-Lual Acuil Jr.

Reflecting on their journey, Goncalves mentioned the team’s loss to AS Douanes in the 2023 BAL Semifinals. “It was a lesson that we made sure to implement this season,” he stated. He emphasized the team’s determination and collective resolve at halftime, which fueled their aggressive play in the third quarter.

Season Records and Future Prospects

Petro de Luanda concluded their 2024 BAL campaign with a 5-3 record, while Al Ahly Ly finished at 6-4. This victory not only brings glory to Petro de Luanda but also grants them the opportunity to represent Africa at the next FIBA InterContinental Cup in September in Singapore

Petro de Luanda’s triumph in the 2024 BAL final is a testament to their resilience, strategic adaptability, and team cohesion. Overcoming a halftime deficit and leveraging their bench strength and rebounding prowess, they emerged as deserving champions.

Key Performances

Nicholas Faust’s Leadership: Nicholas Faust led Petro de Luanda with 24 points, significantly contributing to the team’s offensive success.
Markeith Cummings’ Contribution: Markeith Cummings added 20 points, providing crucial support in Petro de Luanda’s scoring efforts.
Cleusio Castro’s Bench Impact: Cleusio Castro came off the bench to score 10 points, significantly bolstering the team’s depth.
Jo-Lual Acuil Jr.’s MVP Effort: Jo-Lual Acuil Jr., the 2024 BAL MVP, scored 15 points for Al Ahly Ly despite the loss.
Rebounding Dominance: Petro de Luanda won the rebounding battle 48-32, highlighting their aggressive play on the boards.

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