Carlos Morais

Is the window closing on Morais’ BAL title shot?

PETRO de Luanda is a highly decorated club that has participated in every instalment of the Basketball Africa League (BAL). Despite their extensive experience in the league, they have yet to win the BAL trophy. Ahead of the BAL, The Big Tip Off previews Petro.

Team: Petro de Luanda

Country: Angola

History: The 40-year-old club has a history of success on home soil and continentally. Petro has won many titles over the years, including 16 Angolan Basketball League championships, two Luanda Provincial Champions titles, 14 Angolan Cup titles, 10 Wlademiro Romero Super Cup titles, one Victorino Cunha Cup title and two FIBA Africa Club Champions Cup titles.

In the first season, they finished in third place and made it to the final the following year, where they fell short against Tunisia’s US Monastir. 

Jose Neto coach of Petro de Luanda
Can Jose Neto lead Petro to the promised land in Season 4 of the BAL? Pictures: FIBA and the BTO

Despite their lack of a BAL title, Petro has always managed to finish among the top four in the BAL.

Route To BAL: Angola is one of six countries whose club’s automatic qualification into the BAL. Petro went 23-1 throughout the season and defeated Primero de Agosto in the Angolan Basketball League finals to clinch their 16th national title.

Coach: Brazilian coach José Neto will again lead Petro in their title quest. Neto has extensive coaching experience at the club and national team level for Brazil. He is also the head coach of Brazil’s national women’s team, and his coaching career is highly decorated.

Previously, he coached at Flamengo basketball club and achieved great success. He won a FIBA Intercontinental Cup Championship, a FIBA Americas League Championship, and four consecutive Brazilian National League (NBB) titles. 

During his time with Petro, he has won three Angolan League Champion titles, two Angolan Cup trophies, and two Angolan Super Cup titles. Neto is also a three-time Angolan League Coach of the Year and he won Coach of the Year in Season 2 of the BAL.

Star Player: Carlos Morais, a veteran and legendary basketball player from Angola, is a star player on the Petro team. Last season, when Petro appeared to be struggling in the final stages of games, Morais was the go-to guy. He made key plays that helped to swing the momentum in Petro’s favour.

At 38, he had his best performance in Season 3 of the BAL… Recording improvements in every statistical category, averaging 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds per game, and 3.3 assists per game.

In Season 2 of the BAL, Morais earned All-First Team honours.

Is the window closing on Morais’ BAL title shot? Read More »

Morais cherishes being on the same court as Kobe

Angolan guard wants to win it all with Petro

THE path to achieving legendary status on the African basketball scene for Carlos Morais had its share of naysayers, especially when the Angolan point guard decided he was going to make a career out of the sport.

At the beginning, the voices of doubt believed, the mercurial Morais did not have the body type for basketball and concluded he would not make it as a player. Instead of giving into those voices, the now 37-year-old showed in those formative stages, he was made of stern stuff. Morais tuned out the noise from his detractors, worked hard, and has gone on to have a storied career.

Indeed, he has carved out a legacy that makes for envious reading. It also puts to shame his detractors for doubting that he belonged on the hardwood of basketball. Some his achievements include an appearance at the Olympic Games and featuring at two FIBA World Championships. He also has four AfroBasket titles to his name.

“The biggest takeaway from my career is that you can be anything you want in this world,” said the Petro Atletico captain at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus on Saturday. “When I started, I had a small build and had to improve on certain things. Many people told me I would never become a basketball player. They told me to try a different sport.

Carlos Morais
Carlos Morais believes Petro will be better prepared for next year’s BAL. Picture BAL

“I stuck with it. I believed if I put in the work and stayed committed, I would become everything I dreamt of being. And here I am now. So my biggest take away from my career is I am everything I am meant to be.”

The Angolan player’s glittering career highlights include sharing the same court with late icon Kobe Bryant and the current leading man in basketball, LeBron James. But for Morais, going face to face against the Black Mamba in the 2008 Beijing Olympics is one of the lingering moments in the memory bank of his illustrious career.

“It was an unbelievable experience to be on the same basketball court with Kobe, LeBron and other all-time greats. It was amazing. It’s an experience very few have had and something I can share with my kids when they get older. I can tell them I played against the best in the world,” said the former Angola captain. “There are so many great experiences I have had while donning the national team’s vest. But I would say playing against Kobe was by far the biggest of them all. I am a die-hard Kobe fan. Being on the same court as him was unbelievable. From the beginning to the end of the game, I was the happiest kid on the court.”

Petro Atletico
Seasoned veteran Carlos Morais, no 6, feels good about his game. Picture: The BTO

In a career that has spanned two decades and has seen him play high school basketball in the USA and professional basketball in Portugal (Benfica) and Italy (Mans Sana), Morais still enjoys playing at the elite level for Petro Atletico.

“I am feeling good about my game. We have many young players in the team. They have fresh energy, and that keeps me going. They push me to be at my best,” said the Petro captain. “It’s a pleasure to lead this team and to play at the highest level. I want to help them win.”

With the season in Angola about to begin, Morais will lead the 15-time Angolan League champions in an exhibition against the Cape Town Tigers. Petro, who faced the Tigers in this year’s Basketball Africa League (BAL), will use the game on Sunday at Mandeville, Johannesburg, to gauge themselves.

“We expect a good game. The Tigers are a good team and have a good roster. We hope to have a good game tomorrow,” said Morais. “They can help us prepare for what is coming our way in Angola. It’s a game they will look to win, but for us, it’s about being prepared, and we want to take full advantage.”

 

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A post shared by Carlos Morais (@kamoras)

On the home front, Morais also expects their rivals Primeiro de Agosto and Interclube to challenge Petro, who are two-time FIBA African Club Champions.

“I think all the teams will be stronger this year. They want to be in the same position as us. So everything we are doing is to be better than what we were last season. We expect no less from the other teams,” said Morais, who also reflected on Petro’s BAL participation.

“I think in the first season, we were not ready and did not know what to expect. We did not know the level of the other teams, but we finished third. In the second season, we made a couple of mistakes in the final. Hopefully, we will have corrected those by the time the third season starts. We believe next season will be tougher than the last, so we have to be ready.”

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