Team Pilipinas-Social Café, Jeddah United advance; Syriana IKK stuns Lebanese

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Team Pilipinas-Social Cafe poses for a group picture.
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Syriana IKK basketball team. (AN photos)
Updated 10 May 2017
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Team Pilipinas-Social Café, Jeddah United advance; Syriana IKK stuns Lebanese

JEDDAH: Defending champion Team Pilipinas-Social Café guaranteed itself a place in the semifinals along with Jeddah United but the Syriana IKK’s stunning victory over fancied Lebanese community basketball team shook up the race for the remaining two berths entering this weekend’s final week of eliminations in the 2nd Open Intercultural Basketball Tournament.
Team Pilipinas of coach Francis Odinar Magat recovered from an 82-69 defeat by the Lebanese to start its campaign, and now sits on a 3-1 win-loss record next to Jeddah United’s clean 4-0 card.
Friday, the Filipinos won by default over the Saudi community team that followed their decisive 66-50 victory over Egypt on Thursday in back-to-back wins that sealed their final four spot in the tournament at the spanking new Jeddah United basketball court in Al-Shati district here.
Also Thursday, Jeddah United had to dig deep into its arsenal to beat unpredictable Saudis 73-67 that gave coach Naoufal Uariachi’s squad that 4-0 record that included JU’s 64-62 win over the Lebanese in a classic of a game that could have gone either way during the second week of eliminations.
Samy Uariachi hit the game winner for Jeddah United after a miss by the Lebanese with four seconds to play. The defeat upset the momentum of the Lebanese who had beaten the Saudis 85-71 the night before.
The Lebanese were holding a 2-1 record at the start of their game against Syriana Friday. Despite the loss against JU the Lebanese team coached by Mohammed Bunni were heavy favorites against the winless Syriana of coach Hassan Zeineddein.
But on this night Syriana was not to be denied and hammered out an emotional 66-50 victory over a Lebanese side that could not seem to get going especially its 1-2 punch of American import Muhammad Abdulaleem and point guard Ahmad Kheir.
Zeineddein and his boys surprised the enemy with heads-up basketball all night long.
Syriana’s Filipino import Lisztian Amparado played like there was no tomorrow mocking the Lebanese defense to spark an 11-0 run to start the second quarter for a 23-10 Syriana lead.
Syriana built a 21-point lead at 47-36 at the end of the third quarter and then never allowed the Lebanese to come close with a smothering defense the rest of the way. Khermo and Ahmad Khorbatly, among others, were also particularly outstanding as Syriana hardly felt the absence of American David Patrick.
The final elimination round games pit the Saudi team against Syriana in the second game at 10 p.m. Thursday with the Pilipinas sponsored by Social Café courtesy of Abdullah Zahrani taking on Jeddah United in the first game at 8 p.m.
On Friday it will be the Lebanese against Egypt in a lone game at 7 p.m.
Whatever happens in the rest of the concluding games the worst that could happen to the Filipinos is to finish No. 3 for the semis. Jeddah United would go down to No. 1 if it lost against the Filipinos.
Syriana is not in control of its fate, facing a must-win against the Saudis and hoping Egypt beats Lebanese on Friday.
The Lebanese simply have to win against Egypt to qualify as No. 3. A combination of Syriana and Egypt victories would result in a 2-3 tie between Syriana and Lebanese in which case Syriana goes in as No. 4 by virtue of the winner over the other rule to apply in the tiebreak.
This Intercultural basketball event is only in its second year and yet it has generated a lot of interest in the community thanks to Event Manager Mohammad Shobain, Consultant-adviser Mohamed Bayoumi and Obaid Madani who helped facilitate the use of the Jeddah United sports complex. Also in the committee running the event is Ahmed Helmi, head referee of the Saudi Basketball Federation. Young Farhan Sopero, a discovery of Bayoumi, does the play-by-play account of the games.


Algeria ready for ‘match of a lifetime’ — Guedioura

Updated 19 July 2019
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Algeria ready for ‘match of a lifetime’ — Guedioura

  • The Cup of Nations showpiece marks the climax not only of Algeria’s campaign on the field, but of their fans’ recent political campaign in the stands

CAIRO: Algeria midfielder Adlene Guedioura says Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Senegal represents the “match of a lifetime” as his country bids to capture the title for a second time.

The Desert Foxes lifted their lone trophy on home soil in 1990 but coach Djamel Belmadi has reinvigorated a team that crashed out in the group stage two years ago and then flopped in World Cup qualifying.

“I think it’s the match of a lifetime for a lot of players in the team and for Algeria,” said Guedioura, who at 33 is the oldest member of the squad.

The Nottingham Forest journeyman has started five of six games in Egypt and insisted much of the credit for Algeria’s eye-catching performances must go to former national team midfielder Belmadi.

“He really knows the players and what he wants. The good thing is he knows how to get through to the players and how to listen,” said the 48-time international.

“If you don’t have a good cook you can’t have a good recipe. With that we realize we can be all together and it’s important to be a team.

“It’s important for Algeria because we used to have good individuals and now we feel very strong as a team and we want to achieve as a team.”

A Youcef Belaili goal earned Algeria a 1-0 victory over Senegal in the group stage, but Belmadi was quick to point out the statistics were heavily weighted in their opponents’ favor.

“Of course we can lose this match. We have an opponent that is number one in the FIFA rankings for Africa. They were at the World Cup. We were eliminated in the first round in 2017,” said Belmadi.

“If you get to the final, the aim is obviously to win it. The game in the group stage wasn’t decisive but now it is and that’s the difference.”

He added: “The most important is to stay concentrated and determined yet calm at the same time.”

Algeria will have the backing of an additional 4,800 fans for the final.

Some of them will arrive in Cairo on military planes organized by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

The Cup of Nations showpiece marks the climax not only of Algeria’s campaign on the field, but of their fans’ recent political campaign in the stands.

In April, long-standing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after weekly Friday protests against his expected candidacy for elections, and football fans have been heavily involved in demonstrations.

“We know what’s happening. The people we represent have been wonderful,” said Guedioura

“It’s magnificent what is happening. We’re focused on football but we want to win the final for the people,” he added.