After a 78-73 defeat of Stade Malien on Wednesday night, Al Ahly advanced to the 2023 Basketball Africa League Final scheduled for Saturday, 27 May at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

Stade Malien were a tough nut to crack for the Egyptians who trailed by 5points (33-38) at the end of the first half. Al Ahly however outsored Malien 25-15 in the third.

Ehab Amin led all players in scoring with 21 points, Nuni Omot added 16, Michael Thompson had 12 and Michael Fakuade scored 10 points off the bench for Al Ahly.

Amin said: “It was a tough one. We are just happy with the win. We need to do a better a job closing out the game. We’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”

Aliou Diarra recorded his seventh straight double-double (13 and 10 rebounds), Kelvin Amayo had 15 points while Souleymane Berthe added 14 but it wasn’t enough to see Malien past Al Ahly.

Diarra had foul trouble in the fourth quarter and the Malians had to play without him for the remaining part of the game. They also missed 5 of 18 free throws awarded in the fourth quarter.

“If we had those (free-throws), we would have won by six. It’s tough. I know we have a young team, but we played very hard. We just need to lock in, even myself,” Amayo said.

Al Ahly became the second Egyptian team to reach the BAL Final since their local rivals Zamalek clinched the title in 2021 under Agustin Bosch and Bosch will become the first coach to win two BAL titles if they defeat AS Douanes on Saturday.