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
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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).


Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

Updated 41 min 12 sec ago
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Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

  • Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
  • Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.