City Oilers left soul searching

City Oilers’ guard Patrick Rembert directs traffic during Saturday’s clash with Al Ahly Benghazi. PHOTO/COURTESY OF BAL

What you need to know:

Any chances of qualifying were wiped away by a heavy 110-78 defeat against debutants Al Ahly Benghazi Saturday night in Cairo, Egypt.

For the second season in a row, City Oilers have failed to get out of the Basketball Africa League Nile Conference and into the Playoffs.

Any chances of qualifying were wiped away by a heavy 110-78 defeat against debutants Al Ahly Benghazi Saturday night in Cairo, Egypt.

The Oilers required a win of more than 11 points to finish third and maintain hopes of qualifying but, despite a decent start that saw them lead 22-20 at the end of the first quarter, hell broke loose thereafter as the Libyans had a field day in the paint.

Lual Lual Acuil dominated the paint with a 20-for-28 scoring rhythm and went on to set a new BAL record for the most points (42) scored in a single game, breaking the record previously held by Terell Stoglin and Willy Perry.

The Ugandan champions were falling for the fifth time in the tournament and by the time the final buzzer went to put them out of their misery, their impressive 82-81 win over defending champions Al Ahly seemed like a distant memory.

“I think as a team, we gave our best, you know, guys came in and fought but our defense wasn't good as a team. We are conceding a lot of points and I think that’s what we have to work on going forward,” team captain told the press in the mixed zone after Saturday’s pummelling.

With a 1-5 record, the nine-time National Basketball League champions ended the campaign rooted at the base of the log, in a group that had two debutants that looked miles ahead of Oilers.

The result, meanwhile, was enough to send Libya’s Al Ahly through to the playoffs as the second team, joining the reigning champions. Central African Republic’s Bangui will have to hold on for the Sahara Conference to see if they can qualify for the playoffs.

South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers, who featured in the inaugural Kalahari Conference in South Africa, also punched their ticket to Kigali as one of the best third-placed teams.

Head coach Karim Nesba emphasized the need for more preparation time in future for the Oilers to ensure there is good chemistry amongst the players before a stage like the BAL.

Khaman Maluach, who was the Oilers' best player, signed out with his fifth straight double-double of the tournament, recording 11 points and 13 rebounds. He averaged 17.8 points and 13.5 rebounds through the six games.

Bashir Ahmed and Randy Culpepper had 14 points apiece on the night while Patrick Rembert and Robinson Odoch contributed 11 points each. 

Basketball Africa League 

Nile Conference

Saturday results

Al Ahly Ly 110-78 City Oilers

Al Ahly 94-71 Bangui


Al Ahly 5-1

Al Ahly Ly 3-3

Bangui 3-3

City Oilers 1-5