The second game of the day featured Cameroon’s FAP vs. Rwanda’s REG in front of a packed arena.
REG’s Cleveland Thomas Jr. scored the first basket of the game inciting a thunderous roar from the home crowd. FAP’s leading scorer Joel Almeida scored six quick points to give his team a 10-4 lead early in the first. After FAP extended its lead to 18-7, Thomas Jr. answered by converting four consecutive scores, including two three pointers, to bring REG within one point. FAP responded with a five-point scoring run to end the quarter up 23-17.
The second quarter started with both teams trading buckets, bringing the score to 29-26 FAP with four minutes to go in the half. Stingy defense on both sides of the ball kept the scoring at bay as only 16 total points were scored in the first eight minutes of the quarter. Dieudonne Ndizeye hit a three pointer to end a four-minute scoring drought for REG and bring the home team within five points of the lead. FAP entered halftime up 36-31 after leading for all but 1:38 of the first half despite shooting 9/17 from the free throw line. Almeida led FAP in scoring with nine first-half points and Thomas paced REG with 12 first-half points
Thomas hit two consecutive three pointers to start the second half lifting the crowd and bringing REG within one score. Consecutive turnovers led to two fast break buckets to give FAP a 45-37 lead before a put-back off an offensive rebound and a three pointer by Deshaun Morman gave FAP its first double-digit lead with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. REG went on a 6-0 run to end the third, cutting the deficit to seven points as they entered the final quarter down 48-55
REG opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 run capped by a three-point basket by Kenneth Gasana to make it a one possession game for the first time since early in the second quarter. Up two with three minutes left to go, FAP forced a turnover which led to a fast break layup to extend its lead to 61-57 with two minutes left.
Gasana was fouled on the next possession and converted two free throws to bring REG within three points (60-63) with one minute left. On the next possession, FAP’s Brice Bidias got fouled on a drive and made one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game with 46.9 seconds left to play. On REG’s next offensive possession, FAP’s Cyrille Keumoe stole the ball which led to a made free throw by Cedrick Kenfack to go up 65-60 with 32 seconds left. With just 14.5 seconds, REG’s Ndizeye was fouled shooting a three and converted all three free throws to bring the score to 63-65. REG then sent FAP’s Alexis Wangmene to the line with 10 seconds left and the big man hit one free throw to give FAP a three-point lead. REG drove down the court with seven seconds left and Thomas got a clean look but couldn’t connect on what would have been a game-tying three at the buzzer and FAP went on to win 66-63.
FAP had three players score in double figures: Morman (14 points), Almeida (10 points) and Byers (10 points). NBA Academy Africa prospect Ulrich Chomche, who is playing with FAP as part of the BAL Elevate program, gave his team a nice lift off the bench scoring four points and pulling down eight rebounds. Thomas scored a game-high 23 points in the defeat.
FAP will play Petro de Lunda in the BAL semifinals on May 25.
SOURCE: Press Release