KIGALI, (SATSports) – Rwanda’s Patriots Basketball Club on Sunday beat Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers 83-60 in the opening game of the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) in Rwandan capital city Kigali.
The professional league, taking place at Kigali Arena from May 16-30 under strict COVID-19 guidelines, is a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) that features 12 club teams from across Africa. It also marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.
The 12 teams are divided into three groups of four during the regular season that will end on May 22, while eight of them will qualify for the playoffs starting from May 23, with the finals on May 30.
Former NBA player Ben Uzoh from Rivers Hoopers became the first player to score in BAL history. However, host Patriots Basketball Club was the final winner.
Patriots’s U.S. power forward Costner Brandon scored a game-high 20 points, while his teammate Prince Ibeh, a Rwandan center, contributed 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. U.S. forward Taren Sullivan from Rivers Hoopers led his team with 15 points.