City Oilers on Saturday became the first team to qualify for the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The nine-time Ugandan champions booked their ticket to BAL after a 72-61 win over Burundi’s Dynamo in an East African derby in the first Semi-Final of the East Division Elite 16.
Robison Opong dropped five threes to emerge the match’s top points scorer with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
Titus Odeke shooting 4-of-6 from behind the arc saw him finish with 14 points, contributions that hurt the Burundian champions.
Opong, the shooting guard for City Oilers, expressed that their team has shown continuous improvement with each match, and they aim to maintain this positive trend in the upcoming final to extend their winning streak.
Opong emphasized that despite their progress, they don’t consider the job finished. He highlighted the team’s determined mindset, stating that they approach each match with hunger and readiness to fight, rejecting any complacency that might hinder their performance.
The first-half statistics revealed a significant discrepancy in ball control, with Dynamo committing 12 turnovers compared to Oilers’ five, indicating the former’s struggles in handling the ball during crucial moments.
Ultimately, the Burundian team faced challenges, turning the ball over 23 times and failing to capitalize on 11 out of 19 free throws, contributing to their loss by a comparable margin.
Dynamo will be looking to win the Third-Place match set for Sunday and book the last ticket to the 2024 BAL while Oilers are out to keep a clean slate by winning the Final.
City Oilers begun the qualifiers on Tuesday with an 81-76 win over Madagascar’s reigning champions, COSP before edging out Zimbabwe’s JBC 84-71 and Mozambique champions Ferroviario da Beira 100-86 on Wednesday and Thursday’s Group B matches respectively.