18-year-old Mohab Yasser stars as Egypt’s Zamalek win first ever BAL title

Zamalek are the first ever Basketball African League (BAL) champions after defeating Tunisia’s US Monastir.

By Ken Browne
Picture by Pool/ABACA

Zamalek were crowned the first ever champions of the BAL after a 76-63 victory over the Tunisian team US Monastir at the Kigali Arena in the Rwandan capital on Sunday 30 May.

The Egyptian side's win was inspired by 18-year old point guard Mohab Yasser who helped his team come from behind to win by a comfortable 13 points in the end.

34-year-old veteran U.S.-Puerto Rican guard Walter Wallace Hodge was also a decisive factor in Zamalek becoming the Kings of Africa.

Hodge won the first ever Hakeem Olajuwon BAL MVP award, helping the White Knights to an undefeated 6-0 record in the BAL with averages of 15.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.

In defence Anas Osama Mahmoud was the man for Zamalek, he was named the Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year after recording per game averages of 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.

"The BAL is going to be one of the top professional basketball leagues in the world," BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall told Olympics.com back in May before tip-off in this brand new league brought to you by the NBA and FIBA.

And BAL delivered its first big night in style, the game broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages, broadcast live on the nba.com platform worldwide.

Zamalek turn it around

Monastir went into an early lead as the Tunisians started brighter leading 12-6, then 15-8 and led by more than ten points at one point.

Mohab Yasser was big for Zamalek, the teenager rallying his team and dunking spectacularly, his energy contagious for the Egyptian side.

And he had plenty of reasons to perform with nine NBA scouts there watching him, he played the summer league for the Memphis Grizzlies and will be eligible for the draft in 2024.

Hodge had a slow start but burst into life towards the end of the first, his contribution key as Zamalek were up by two at halftime, leading 44-42.

From there they never looked back.

Hodge sparks to life

Walter Hodge found his fire in the fourth quarter, controlling the tempo and powering up his three-point game.

The White Knights stepped on the gas and it was all over with minutes still on the clock, finishing the match in style with a 14-point lead.

Founded in 1911 Zamalek is a multi-sports club with football/soccer, handball teams and more, their basketball team has won the Egyptian Super League on 15 occasions, they won the African Club Championship in 1992 and now they've won the first ever BAL trophy.