NBA prospects Khaman Maluach and Thierry Darlan star in Bangui's BAL win over City Oilers

Egypt's Seif Hendawy explains why he signed for Loyola (1:21)

Al Ahly and Egypt forward Seif Hendawy recently signed with Chicago's Loyola University, after impressing at the BAL and G League, and says he felt a kinship with head coach Drew Valentine. (1:21)

Bangui SC bounced back from a tumultuous start to the Basketball Africa League to beat City Oilers 101-88 in the Basketball Africa League (BAL) on Saturday, while the battle between hosts Al Ahly of Cairo and their namesakes from Benghazi ended in a 98-86 home win.

The early scoring was led by two of the NBA Academy Africa's finest draft prospects, Thierry Darlan and Khaman Maluach.

Darlan, who spent the past year with G League Ignite, scored Bangui's first five points, while Duke Blue Devils commit Maluach got City Oilers' first 10 and was as solid as ever on defense.

Bangui took an early lead, as they had on Friday against Al Ahly Benghazi. However, two-pointers from James Okello and Randy Culpepper Sr. gave the Oilers the upper hand. A three-pointer from Darlan then put Bangui 16-15 ahead.

Evans Ganapamo, who had a poor game in the defeat to Ahly Benghazi, appeared reinvigorated in the early minutes against City Oilers. His three-pointer stretched the lead to 21-17.

Oilers rallied back and led 26-23 at the end of the first quarter. Maluach had 14 points by then and Darlan 10. Bangui regained control in the second quarter, with Ganapamo and Rolly Fula leading the attack and Nyang Wek also playing a key role.

Darlan showcased his ability on defense as he made a Maluach-esque block on Patrick Rembert as the clock ticked down on the first half. City Oilers managed a late bucket, but went into the break 50-43 behind.

The back-and-forth between Maluach and Darlan continued in the third quarter, with Dane Miller Jr. also making some important shots. Midway through the second half, Bangui led 75-70.

Bangui came out of the blocks flying in the fourth quarter with Darlan and Emeka Nwabuzor leading the way. As the lead stretched beyond 10 points, City Oilers were left with a mountain too high to climb, but there was still the matter of top individual scorer of the game to resolve.

That accolade ultimately went to Maluach, who finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds to Darlan's 22 and 10 and Ganapamo's 19 and 3.

However, Bangui emerged 101-88 winners, putting off-court payment issues aside with an impressive show of unity on the floor.

"We had a lot of things that happened off the court. The first game was kind of the team getting together [for the first time after last minute roster changes] - we made a lot of mistakes," Ganapamo told ESPN.

"We came back today and tried to fix that. The team responded very well and I think that put us in a great situation for the rest of the tournament."

The late tip off saw the two Al Ahly's battle it out for top spot in the Nile Conference. From the get-go, they could hardly be separated in the game, let alone by name. It would take until the later stages for a clear dominant side to emerge.

The hosts took a 42-39 lead into half-time in front of a sizable crowd - albeit not a sold out arena.

Ahly Benghazi hit the front early in the third quarter. Inspired by a brilliant performance from former Baylor Bears duo Pierre Jackson and Jo Lual-Acuil, they made life difficult for Agustí Julbe's side, who bounced back to take the lead again late in the third quarter.

It was at this stage that the likes of Omar Oraby and Tony Mitchell stepped up their game defensively with some impressive blocks, swinging the pendulum further in favor of the hosts.

With around four minutes left on the clock, Mitchell sank a three to stretch the lead to 87-73, all but putting the Egyptian side home and dry and they saw out the final minutes to win 98-86.

On the scoreboard, it was a comfortable home win, but in reality, Ahly Benghazi gave a strong account of themselves in what looks likely to be a highly competitive conference.