DJ Strawberry, an ex-Phoenix Suns player, led Zamalek to a convincing victory over FAP in the Basketball Africa League Third-place Playoff. He stated that if it was his last professional game, he'd be content with the way his career ended.
Zamalek was the defending champions until they lost to US Monastir in Wednesday's semifinals. Strawberry, who scored 20 points in the game, made seven of seven three pointers and was named game MVP.
Strawberry, 37, turns 37 in June. He was drafted from Maryland by the Suns and played for Arizona for a season before he began his professional career.. Since January, he has been with Zamalek.
Strawberry replied, “I have no idea what the future holds for me.”
“I'm getting older, and I considered quitting basketball. But playing with this group has restored my passion for the game and given me lots of excitement.
“Today, If this was to be my last time playing basketball, I wanted it to be the way I play basketball. I felt like I had played the game today. We'll see what comes next for me.”
FAP's 2021 performance, which saw them reach the quarterfinals, was a marked improvement. They were the surprise package, and they lost to Zalamek in the final four.
Francois Enyegue, the head coach, said that it was difficult to compete with Zamalek and other finalists Monastir, Petro de Luanda and others after the game. [Egypt, Tunisia, and Angola respectively]All have strong professional leagues.
FAP and sides like Cape Town Tigers or Cobra Sports South Sudan don't compete in established leagues and will always find it difficult to face the continental giants.
Enyegue said that: “One reason…” [why FAP can't match Africa's best teams] The strength of local leagues is their strength.
“These players from Zamalek and Petro have strong local leagues, and they have the opportunity to play with their recruits at the local championship. This is not the case for Cameroon.
“Players love [Tyjhai] Alexis Byers [Wangmene] [Charles] Minlend joined the team just recently, but I have high hopes for this team moving forward.”
The final of the BAL will take place on Saturday, May 28th at 6pm local time [12 noon ET]The broadcast will be carried on ESPN in Africa and ESPN+ in the USA.
This report was contributed by Leonard Solms