21 - 24
September 2023
to read

Day 2 preview: Al Ahly look to stay perfect as Sesi Franca, Golden Bulls join the action

SINGAPORE (Singapore) - Immediately after becoming the first ever African club to win a game at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Al Ahly aim to become the first team in Singapore to climb to 2-0 in their groups standings.

Meanwhile two new teams will take to the floor of the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday. as Sesi Franca and Zhejiang Golden Bulls start their respective quests at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup Singapore 2023.

Sesi Franca v Al Ahly (Group A)

Key matchup: Judging by their photo shooting session at the Media Day in Singapore, Sesi Franca are feeling a lot of confidence going into this FIBA Intercontinental Cup experience. Coming off of a solid FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 showing, and playing his last games in a Sesi Franca jersey, look for Georginho de Paula to lead the team.

The 27-year-old athletic forward will leave for Germany after the event, following in Yago Mateus and Bruno Caboclo's footsteps to join German champs Ratiopharm Ulm. No doubt he will be highly motivated to bring another trophy back to Brazil before embarking on his European journey.

How to stop a big lefty player who can create for himself and others? But of course by giving a bigger role to your own big lefty player who can create for himself and others.

Amr El Gendy did not see a lot of minutes in Al Ahly's Basketball Africa League championship run last season, but at the World Cup, he showed he could be a brilliant role player even on a level as high as that.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amr El Gendy (@amrelgendy5)

He averaged 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in Egypt's 2-3 record in Manila, including a 19-point outing against New Zealand on the final day of Egypt's campaign in th competition. During the Qualifiers for the same event, Amr had a 42-point game against South Sudan, showing what he's capable of doing on his day.

X factors: Alexey Borges started his professional career with Sesi Franca back in 2015, and after four seasons elsewhere, he is set to make on Friday his official return to the club.

When you know he's averaged about 13 points and 6 assists per game in each of those four previous seasons, both domestically and in the Basketball Champions League Americas, it's clear why there is some excitement to see him in a Franca jersey again.

Al Ahly will fight fire with fire, putting Ehab Amin on Borges to see if their leader can outperform the Brazilian guard. If Amin goes on one of his usual Al Ahly games, hitting threes off the dribble and getting his teammates involved, they would be much closer to a win.

How to watch: The game tips off at 15:00 local time in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which is 04:00 in Brazil and 10:00 in Egypt. Fans in Egypt can watch the game on OnTime Sports, while the rest of the world can look for their respective rights holders or switch to Courtside 1891 and YouTube for streaming.

Meet the teams:

-Sesi Franca Basquete and Georginho enjoy the last dance

-Al Ahly bring in World Cup hero and two-time NBA champ

Zhejiang Golden Bulls v Al Manama (Group B)

Key matchup: Malik Newman was one of the biggest prospects in USA Basketball's program, leading the U17 national team to gold back in 2014 at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup and earning the MVP award after averaging 14.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

He was so good that even a certain Jayson Tatum was behind him in points per game at that event, and Newman went on to score in bunches wherever he played over the world.

Most recently, he won the scoring title in the VTB United League in Europe last season, and he could have the ball in his hands even more often now with the Golden Bulls, meaning that 18.9 points per game mark from the 2022-23 season could be surpassed.

Al Manama already played a game in Singapore, losing to BCL champions Telekom Baskets Bonn, and it's clear they will once again turn to Sir' Dominic Pointer to get the job done offensively - and defensively too.

Pointer struggled with turnovers in the first game in Singapore on Thursday, but still performed way better than his teammates. He will need more help if they want to get into the W column in the standings.

X factors: Qian Wu has been with the Golden Bulls since 2017, and has a Chinese Basketball Association Most Valuable Player award to his name. He earned MVP honors back in 2020-21, becoming one of the rare guards to pick up the trophy.

If he sees his first couple of shots go in, he could provide the spark to power Zhejiang to a winning start in Singapore.

For Al Manama, Latavious Williams will have to take the load in the middle. The experienced center was actually pretty efficient in his debut in Singapore, if he can keep converting the passes into layups, maybe that opens up the spacing for the shooters to perform better than they did against Bonn, and get into double digits in threes made.

How to watch: The game tips off at 19:00 local time in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which is also 19:00 in China, and it's 14:00 in Bahrain. Fans in China can watch the game on Tencent, while the ones from Bahrain can join the fans from the rest of the world, switching to Courtside 1891 and YouTube for streaming.

Meet the teams:

-Golden Bulls with the top scoring threat

-Treble-winning Al Manama chasing a fourth trophy