BAL honours Olajuwon, Mutombo, Bol as Egypt’s Zamalek win inaugural league
Zamalek of Egypt yesterday defeated US Monastir of Tunisia 76 to 63 to win the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) Championship, which held at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda. The game was broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages.
BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall, presented Zamalek with the BAL Championship Trophy designed to represent the baobab tree, which is native to Africa and known as the “tree of life” for providing food, water, shelter and protection to people and animals alike.
Following the game, the BAL announced the first recipients of the league’s end-of-season awards, which honour pioneering African NBA legends Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Manute Bol (South Sudan).
The BAL created the Hakeem Olajuwon BAL Most Valuable Player Award, Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year Award and Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award in recognition of their legendary NBA careers and off-court contributions.
Award winners were selected by a panel of sportswriters, broadcasters and NBA team scouts in attendance, with nominees receiving three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.
The 12 BAL head coaches voted for the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award, but could not vote for players on their own team. Both the BAL group phase and Playoffs were considered as part of the voting process.
Walter Hodge (Zamalek) was named the Hakeem Olajuwon BAL Most Valuable Player after leading his team to an undefeated 6-0 record with per game averages of 15.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
Anas Osama Mahmoud (Zamalek) was named the Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year after recording per game averages of 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Makrem Ben Romdhane (US Monastir) received the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
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