Mohab Yasser Abdallatif - the youngest player in the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) – made his presence felt at Kigali Arena on Sunday, helping his Zamalek team outclass AS Douanes 86-62.
“I don’t care too much about stats, I am a team player,” said the 18-year-old who finished with 14 points on a 6-of-8 performance from the field in just 16:38 minutes on the court.
He looked like a totally different player from the player who finished scoreless in Zamalek’s Group C opener against Ferroviario de Maputo on Monday, May 17.
“I am very happy about his performance. Players like him I call them soldiers,” said Zamalek head coach Agusti Julbe.
Abdllatif, who will graduate soon from the NBA Academy in Dakar, insisted that he’s just focused on helping Zamalek go far in the BAL.
”He works really hard. I am sure he was a little disappointed about his performance in the first game. He didn’t lose his temper, remained focused for most of the game, and today, he was great,” explained Julbe, who didn’t even need to use the 6’3” guard in the final quarter.
Zamalek outplayed the Senegalese from start to finish, prompting AS Douanes head coach Mamadou Gueye to describe Zamakek as “a much stronger at every level, but our players will certainly learn from this experience.”
AS Douanes led Zamalek by five early in the game, but it was a short-lived event as the winners of the 1992 FIBA Africa Champions Cup closed the opening quarter with a 20-14 lead and never looked back.
Mamadou Diop led AS Douanes with 14 points, Mamadou Faye and Egyptian Hassan Attia contributed 11 points each, but Zamalek wrapped the game up before it finished such was the Egyptians dominance.
“My players put on a great display. Many people wouldn’t have thought that we would get this far and play as hard as we did,” Gueye insisted.
Zamalek point guard Walter Hodge finished with a game-high 15 points and Cote Ivoire international player Souleyman Diabate added 11 points off the bench for the Cairo-based club.
With the win, Zamalek improved its Group C mark to 2-0 and advanced to the playoff while AS Douanes will need to wait for other groups results to find out if it’s one of the two best third-placed teams.
Numbers don’t lie:
Once again, Zamalek was careless with the ball, turning it over 23 times; they made just 13 of its 25 free-throw attempts, still, the Egyptian outfit was more efficient offensively finishing with a 55.9% field goal percentage in the game.