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BAL Debutants ABC Fighters Win Season Opener

Screen grab of the Basketball Africa League's season three opener between the ABC Fighters of Ivory Coast and Senegal's AS Douanes on March 11, 2023.

WASHINGTON — The Basketball Africa League (BAL) season three tipped-off Saturday at the Dakar Arena in Dakar, Senegal with a 76-70 win by debutants ABC Fighters from Ivory Coast over hosts AS Douanes.

The Abidjan-based team made their debut in the tournament as first time participants beating Dakar's own AS Douanes, who participated in the inaugural BAL season.

Abidjan Basket Club Fighters' led majority of the game but their lead was cut short by AS Douanes in the fourth quarter.

AS Douanes was down 52-62 with under eight minutes remaining, and cut the led to two with four minutes left. Foul trouble for the Senegalese side gave ABC space to increase their lead, ending in the win by seven.

Abidjan Basket Club Fighters' Amadou Harouna said, "we never panicked. We wanted to win this game, and we did it."

Harouna led his team with 25 points, seven rebounds and two assists and was named Player of the Game.

"He can do this for four more games," ABC coach Liz Mills said of Harouna’s performance.

Terrel De Von Stoglin led AS Douanes with 21 points.

Rounding up the BAL opening weekend on Sunday Rwanda's REG plays debutants Kwara Falcons of Nigeria. 2022 BAL champions will tip-off their season Sunday evening against first-time participants Stade Malien from Mali.

Al Ahly from Egypt and the City Oilers from Uganda are two other teams making their debut in the BAL this season.

The Sahara Conference’s group phase will be played at the Dakar Arena from March 11-21, and the Nile Conference’s group phase will take place at Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall in Cairo from April 26-May 6.

Some information in this report came from Basketball Africa League.