GS Petroliers is heading into its third and final Group game against Zamalek today at Kigali Arena still looking for its first win. Head coach Sofiane Boulahia firmly believes that the Algiers-based team will do everything it can to end its losing streak.
“We’ll approach the game with the same motivation and same objective and try to win it,” said the former point guard of the Algerian national team.
GSP lost its two BAL games against Ferroviario de Maputo and AS Douanes by an average of 10.5 points. It has also allowed 90 points per game, something that Boulahia needs to readjust before it’s too late.
If GSP is to cause one of the biggest upsets in the BAL, it will need to count on the services of its leading scorer Mohamed Harat.
Harat sat out his team’s 88-74 defeat to Ferroviario de Maputo with a muscle injury on Saturday.
GSP will need to contain Zamalek’s high-paced game, and more importantly, the Algerian team will have to contain former University of Florida point guard Walter Hodges and be able to force powerful center Chinemelu Elonu out of the paint.
Elonu, Hodge and Anas Mahmoud, also a center, have been crucial for the Cairo-based team who came to Kigali to make history.
“We are here to try and fight for the championship [title] and get the longest run possible, but sometimes we have to think game by game,” noted Zamalek Head Coach Agustin Julbe.
In its first two games, Zamalek averaged more than 25 turnovers, a situation that Julbe attributes it to his team’s fast-paced style of play, although he admits that there is room for improvement.
With two wins in as many games, Zamalek is through to the quarterfinals.
When he was recently asked about his team’s BAL expectations, Julbe said that, “this is a very challenging and demanding competition.”
“It’s difficult to talk about our expectation in the quarterfinals. What I can say is that we came here to win [the BAL]. That’s our goal, but at the same time we can’t look too much ahead of schedule. If we respect our opponents and play a solid game and impose a good rhythm we will be good in the elimination round.“
If the stats are anything to go by, Zamalek emerges as the favorite in this clash, but it will need to show it on the floor.
GSP v Zamalek by the numbers:
Points per game: (81)
Field Goal percentage: (40.85%)
Free-Throw percentage: (53.1%)
Points allowed per game: (90)
Points per game: (78.5)
Field Goal percentage: (49.15%)
Free-Throw percentage: (56.95%)
Points allowed per game: (58.5)