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27 May

Tigers’ Unprecedented Triumph: Shaking Up the BAL Playoffs

In the colourful mosaic of African basketball, the Cape Town Tigers have just brushed strokes of unpredictability and resilience with their remarkable victory over FUS Rabat in the BAL playoffs.

As a chronicler of the Tigers’ journey, I’ve grown accustomed to the unexpected. Yet, the drama that unfolded in their clash against FUS Rabat surpassed all expectations. With two previous defeats to FUS Rabat this season and a modest 8th seed entry into the quarter-finals, the odds seemed daunting.

The absence of co-captain Lebesa Selepe left a void, but the return of Dhieu Deng injected a much-needed spark of hope. His presence proved pivotal, setting the stage for a showdown that would go down in history.

Every possession was a rollercoaster of emotion, with the score seesawing back and forth. When the final buzzer sent the game into overtime, fans were on the edge of their seats and in my situation my eyes glued to the TV screen, breathless with anticipation.

Led by the relentless spirit of players like Nkosinathi Sibanyoni, whose record-breaking 25 rebounds left us in awe, the Tigers refused to back down. Sibanyoni reflected on the importance of their rebounding efforts, stating, “They beat us twice because they out-rebounded us. This time around, we had to get more rebounds and score the ball.”

Despite the setback of Deng’s injury, they summoned a resilience that defied logic.

And when the dust settled, and the Tigers secured a nail-biting 91-88 victory against FUS Rabat, it felt like the culmination of years of perseverance and determination.

“This win is history for us as South Africans. This win is history to us as Cape Town Tigers because for two seasons we never made it to the Semifinals. This win means a lot to us, really,” said Sibanyoni, capturing the magnitude of the moment.

As lovers of the game, these are the moments we live for. The unexpected, adrenaline-driven clashes that leave us on the edge of our seats and glued to our TV screens, hearts pounding with excitement. And while the Tigers may still have a long road ahead in the semi-finals, their performance has already surpassed expectations, proving that in the world of basketball, anything is possible.

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