Jeddah United-Syriana, Pilipinas-Social vs. Egypt in Intercultural Basketball

Saudi community basketbal team. (AN photo)
Updated 17 May 2017
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Jeddah United-Syriana, Pilipinas-Social vs. Egypt in Intercultural Basketball

JEDDAH: From six starters the field is down to four and Thursday’s knockout semifinals will determine the two to battle it out for the championship crown in the 2nd Open Intercultural Basketball Tournament.
Will defending champion Team Pilipinas-Social Café of coach Francis Magat find its best form to retain the title? Can Jeddah United handle the pressure in its bid for a seven-game title sweep? Will there be surprises from Syriana IKK or the Egypt community basketball team?
These are the story lines in the semifinal games pitting Jeddah United against Syriana at 8:30 p.m. and Pilipinas-Social Café against Egypt at 10:30 p.m.
The semifinal cast was set after the concluding elimination round games at the weekend at the spanking new Jeddah United sport complex basketball court.
Though they did their part of the bargain Syriana’s fate was in the hands of Egypt, which surprised everyone when it took down Lebanese community team, one of the pre-tournament favorites, in the second game on Friday.
Thursday, Jeddah United finished as the No. 1 team on 5-0 after beating the Filipinos 72-67 while Hassan Zeineddein’s Syriana trounced Saudi community team 71-58.
The must-win against the Saudis done, Syriana had to wait for the result of the Egypt-Lebanese tiff if they are to continue in the knockout stage of the tournament .
Fortunately for Syriana, Egypt opened the door to the semis as it bravely battled from 20 points down to beat the Lebanese 68-66 in a thrilling game.
The Egyptians tied the game at 50-all to end the third quarter after trailing the Lebanese by as many as 20 points.
A basket from the perimeter by Mohammed Abulmajd and a split free throw by Mohammed Hamdi gave the Egyptians a 65-61 lead with 2:31 to play in the fourth quarter after the Lebanese had closed within 62-61.
The Lebanese were to threaten two more times at 65-64 and 66-65, and with the score at 68-66 to Egypt, time down to 10.3 seconds, the Lebanese had a chance to steal the game but American import Mo Abdulaleem flubbed his free throws, Ahmad Kheir missed a field goal and Mohammed Ziden from under the basket in the last second.
The result put Egypt at 3-2 in a tie with Philippines and Lebanese at 2-3 in a deadlock with Syriana. But Syriana went through to the last four by virtue of the winner over the other rule.
The event is an annual project of Event Manager Mohammad Shobain with support from Consultant-adviser Mohamed Bayoumi, a friend of the Filipino community and recipient of the Presidential Banaag Award.


Saudi Arabia out of Asian Cup after 1-0 defeat to Japan

Updated 49 min 44 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia out of Asian Cup after 1-0 defeat to Japan

  • Tomiyasu goal enough to give Japan place in the quarterfinals.
  • Green Falcons struggled to break down a determined Japan side.

LONDON: Takehiro Tomiyasu's lone strike sent Saudi Arabia crashing out of the Asian Cup as Japan beat the three-time champions 1-0 to reach the quarterfinals.
Tomiyasu's first-half header was enough to seal it for Japan as the last-16 game between two teams with seven titles between them failed to live up to its billing.
Japan, record four-time winners of the Asian Cup, march on to a quarter-final with Southeast Asian champions Vietnam despite not yet hitting top form at the tournament.
Saudi Arabia were in the ascendancy early on but it was Japan who snatched the advantage with a straightforward goal from a set piece on 20 minutes.
From a corner, Belgium-based defender Tomiyasu climbed above his marker and nodded firmly into the bottom corner for his first of the tournament.
The Saudis twice came close with headers as they strived for a way back, and Hatan Bahbri curled one just off-target as he went for the top corner.
Yoshinori Muto's shot was blocked on the hour-mark but most of the chances were falling to Saudi Arabia, who will rue some wasteful finishing.
Bahbri's shot from outside the box crept narrowly wide and Ali Al-Bulaihi powered a strong header over when the ball was knocked back into the area after a free-kick.
But despite a late flurry it remained another goalless outing for the Saudis, who haven't hit the net since scoring six goals in their first two group games.