Ten teams clash today in 5 final matches in 1st Filipino Community Basketball League

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Action from the semifinal game Brawlers vs. Sharbatly Fruits. (AN photos)
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Best Player of the game Anthony Villegas with FCBL Commissioner Robert Jose.
Updated 16 February 2017

Ten teams clash today in 5 final matches in 1st Filipino Community Basketball League

JEDDAH: For basketball fans, all roads lead to Sheraton Jeddah Hotel Sport Complex court for a super Friday of five championship matches in the 1st Filipino Community Basketball League (FCBL) Basketball Tournament.
The mouth-watering no-tomorrow games beginning at 5 p.m. were set after the semifinal knockout matches at the weekend.
Easily the “most intense and best match for this season” according to the FCBL website was the Sharbatly Fruits-Brawlers in Division C3. Sharbatly won 102-99 in double overtime Friday with eventual Best Player Orna scoring a game-high 41 points. Enad and Sanchez each added 19 points. Regulation period ended 84-all and the first overtime 91-all.
The third seed team in the semis, Sharbatly will be up against top qualifier Jeddah Hilton in the knockout final match. Jeddah Hilton qualified for the championship with a 71-58 hammering of Tripol Ace in Thursday’s semifinal.
The centerpiece Division A Open Rated championship will feature the Syriana-IKK of Hassan Zeineidin against Cris Melebo’s Kabayan Gents who advanced to the all-important tussle by beating SMDC in a knockout game.
Coach Zeineidin is looking at a potential championship double with his Dar Jana squad in the Division C Pool 1 up against Jimmy Abdullah Beltran’s Abdul Latif Jameel United Finance (ALJUF) in another title clash.
Dar Jana, whose only defeat in the eliminations was against ALJUF, survived Jollibee 86-84 in a tough semifinal Friday while ALJUF brought down King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital 97-81 in their side of the semis Friday where Anthony Villegas was named Best Player of the game with 27 points. Gino Cilot added 21 points and Lupac 13 for the No. 1 seed ALJUF.
Interestingly, ALJUF and Dar Jana are the top two sides in the division.
In Division B Reinforced Rated, it will be ALJ-FedEx against Tamimi-Brethren for the crown. ALJ-FedEx, bannered by the trio of Villegas, Paul Taguba and Montano Dela Cruz who scored 34, 19 and 11 points in that order, defeated Al-Muhaidib-Solid North 78-74 in a semifinal matchup of Nos. 1 and 2 teams Friday. Tamimi crushed SMDC 105-81 in Thursday’s semis.
AVK Pioneers, who enjoyed a good run in the tournament, hope to put the icing on the victory cake when they play Falcunit for the Division C Pool 2 championship.
AVK and Falcunit had contrasting final four wins on their way to the final. AVK defeated Holdup Boyz by 80-70 Thursday while Falcunit overpowered Yummy Yummy 99-69.
Tournament sponsors are Soda Sports (PEAK) through Art Montiero, SMDC, Virgin Mobile and Yummy Yummy Restaurant.
Noel Miguel heads the Organizing Committee as president with Robert Jose as commissioner.
With Miguel and Jose in the Organizing Committee is Tournament Director Jerry Lagrimas. Making up the Technical Committee are: Jess Sales, Zaldy Ramos and Willy Cartagena (play-by-play announcer).

Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

‘I’m very happy to have won my first title with Juventus,’ Cristiano Ronaldo said. (Photo/General Sports Authority)
Updated 17 January 2019

Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

  • Ronaldo’s glancing header sinks AC Milan 1-0 at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium

JEDDAH: A historic Wednesday evening at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium saw Italian champions Juventus beat AC Milan in the final of the 31st annual Supercoppa Italiana.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal as Juventus lifted the Supercoppa Italiana for the first time since 2015 with a 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out 61,235-capacity crowd.

As only one should expect when two of the most successful Italian clubs go head to head, a tactical and elegant, albeit very physical, display of football was at hand. 

Cheerful roars from the Jeddah crowd resonated throughout the night, in the kind of buzzing atmosphere that only a cup final brings.

Juventus, the Serie A champions, began brightly and were the first side to settle into the game, threatening with frequent sweeping moves.

Juventus and Portuguese international Joao Cancelo could have opened the scoring in the 16th minute after being played through on goal, but the defender’s zooming effort lacked the necessary precision and whisked past the far post with the Milan keeper rooted in his spot.

A maddening crescendo of noise erupted when Juventus and French international Blaise Matuidi thought he had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after being played through by Costa before being flagged offside. 

Juventus did not have too much longer for another opportunity though, with Ronaldo’s acrobatic half volley from just outside the six-yard box bouncing and nestling agonizingly just over the bar and sparing Donnarumma’s blushes in the process.

Christiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in his last seven finals. (Reuters)

Milan, who qualified for the final as runners-up to Juventus in last season’s Coppa Italia, had struggled throughout the first half to settle into the game. They gradually grew into their own though, and nearly broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime with a stinging drive from Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu.

After a slew of opportunities had Juventus failing to build a halftime lead, Milan nearly made them pay for their squandered chances by starting the second half like bats out of hell. 

Milan’s confident pressing start to the half was almost rewarded in the 47th minute when a Ronaldo tackle inadvertently set up Cutrone with a clear sight on goal.  The striker turned and blasted an effort that rattled off the crossbar — the closest either team had come thus far.

And just when the tide seemed to have turned for Milan in the second half, their confidence building with every minute, a perfectly floating cross from Pjanic found Ronaldo with yards of space, and he made no mistake directing a swift header into the back of the net in the 61st minute and sending Juve supporters into a frenzy.

• AS IT HAPPENED: Cristiano Ronaldo's goal gives Juventus Supercoppa Italiana victory over AC Milan in Jeddah >>

• Arab News Matchday gallery >>

Things went from bad to worse for Milan in the 73rd minute. Franck Kessie came rushing in with a recklessly timed tackle, crunching his studs into the shins of Emre Can, which resulted in him seeing a straight red and leaving Milan with 10 men and a subsequent insurmountable uphill battle.

The final whistle came soon after, and with it brought Juventus a record eighth Supercoppa. It goes without saying that there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a cup final, but this was a historic and monumental occasion for Jeddah. 

The first major European cup final match being held in Saudi Arabia is now in the books, and with it brought an added sense of passion and excitement. 

Thousands of men, women and children showed up enthusiastically, were highly supportive of both teams, and were thoroughly entertained. It was a successful and memorable night that will surely pave the way for many more.

Addressing a prematch press conference on Tuesday night, Juventus Captain Giorgio Chiellini had defended the choice of Jeddah as the venue for the game against a backdrop of criticism by some. He said that it was “right” to give the Saudi port city the chance to host the showpiece match.

“We (footballers) cannot change the world but initiatives such as this can provide a new start.”

Juventus had been experiencing a worrying trend in cup finals of late. Despite securing the Serie A and Coppa Italia double for three seasons running, they had lost back-to-back Supercoppas and seven out of nine European Cup finals. 

Chiellini, however, firmly believed that his team would change the trend and the team did make their captain proud. 

Juventus now holds the outright record of most Italian Super Cups with eight titles. (Arab News photo by Ali Khamg)