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Basketball Africa League: Rivers Hoopers defeat US Monastir to reach historic semi-final

"Rivers Hoopers’ team manager, Ifie Ozaka, revealed that their goal is now closer after making it to the semifinals"

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Nigeria’s representative in the ongoing Basketball Africa League (BAL), Rivers Hoopers BC, achieved the historic feat of reaching their first-ever semi-final at the tournament after earning a hard-fought victory 92-88 over former BAL Champions US Monastir of Tunisia in the quarter-final.

One of the most outstanding players on the team, Will Perry, scored an impressive 33 points to lead the Hoopers past US Monastir of Tunisia.

Be propelled the Nigerian team into the semifinals, ousting the No. 5-seeded Tunisian team at the BAL Playoffs on Monday in Kigali.

Kelvin Amayo and Peter Olisemeka each contributed 18 points, while Devine Eke added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Olisemeka also pulled down 12 rebounds.

“This win means a lot to us as a country,” Eke told bal.nba.com. “We are here to compete. This is a big victory, not just for the club, but the job is not done. We still have a lot more work to do.”

Perry, who played all 40 minutes of the game and made four of his nine three-point attempts, emphasized the team’s focus and preparation. “This team is built to compete,” he had said before the start of the Sahara Conference, where the Hoopers topped the standings.

Reflecting on the game, Perry said: “We were super focused. Monastir are really hard to guard because they have Chris Crawford playing the pick-and-roll really well, and [Ater] Majok is an excellent screener. We struggled a little bit with that part of it, but in the end, our offence took over.”

“I am super happy for the Rivers Hoopers club. They deserve it because they prepared it the right way and took it seriously. Coach is a humble man and a great coach, and he deserves it,” Perry added. “I am super happy for Port Harcourt and the country of Nigeria.”

Rivers Hoopers’ team manager, Ifie Ozaka, revealed that their goal is now closer after making it to the semifinals. “It has been an amazing journey since 2021, when we came here as newcomers,” Ozaka recalled.

“We only won one game at the time. What we did differently was that we went back and prepared. We came here because we want to be on the podium.”

“We knew the kind of players we wanted on and off the court. We spent some good money getting these players. This is a team, not a group of individuals, and that’s what we were able to build. This success is a team effort.”

Rivers Hoopers’ next challenge is against Libyan outfit Al Ahly Ly, who defeated Egypt’s defending champion Al Ahly SC.

The BK Arena in Kigali will host the match on Thursday.

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