Tunisian champions US Monastir opened their Basketball Africa League (BAL) campaign with authority, beating Madagascar's GNBC 113-66 in Monday's third and final game.
Five US Monastir players scored in double digits to complete the comprehensive victory, with Makram Ben Romdhane leading the Tunisians with a team-best 23 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The MVP of the 2011 FIBA Africa Champions Cup admitted that his experience in African basketball was fundamental, but he insisted that they "expect tougher games in the BAL."
"Today I had a good game, but it could have been one of my teammates. I have been competing in African basketball tournaments for over 12 years, and I am always happy to share my experience with younger players," Ben Romdhane pointed out.
Radhouane Slimane was three for four from long-range to contribute 13 points, Omar Abada added 13 to help US Monastir take the lead win Group A ahead of Patriots Basketball Club.
The Malagasy have never posed a threat to the Tunisians who led from start to finish. And by halftime (58-32), US Monastir had scored almost as many points as GNBC did in the entire game.
GNBC's Cameron Ridley was almost perfect from the floor, hitting six of his eight field goals, making his presence felt in the paint, but he sprained his right ankle as he attempted a layup early in the third quarter in what was his last action as he was ruled out for the remaining of the game.
GNBC head coach Ranaivosoa Nantenaina later admitted that Ridley's absence was a major blow to his team: "It's a major injury, and he won't be returning. He was doing a good job for us, rebounding, but it's an unfortunate situation for us as team."
Nantenaina went on saying: "We need to make improvements. We have to work harder for the following games."
Ridley finished with 12 points while his teammate Elly Randriamampionona led all players with 26 points.
Randriamampionona, a Madagascar national team standout, vowed to keep fighting for his fellow Malagasy: "We have to improve, it wasn't a great result for us. Our fans back home are behind us, we won't give up, we'll continue to fight for them."