Ittihad wins e-League, leads qualifiers for eMBS Cup

Al-Ittihad celebrates after winning the eSaudi Professional League. (Photo Supplied)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Ittihad wins e-League, leads qualifiers for eMBS Cup

  • The eMBS cup will be held May 13-14 in Riyadh and tickets are available on the tournament website
  • Spectators from around the world can watch the matches via the SAFEIS Twitch and YouTube

RIYADH: Al-Ittihad capped a dominant eSaudi Professional League 2019-2020 season by winning the title in the last round, beating Al-Baten 4-1 and becoming the first Saudi club to clinch the league championship. 

The Ittihadi achievement did not come as a surprise for the fans, having  in their ranks the reigning FIFA eWorld Cup champion Mossaed Al-Dossari and star player Rakan Al-Mutairi, among others.  

In a statement Al-Dossari  said: “I can’t believe we won our club’s first ever eSPL championship. I have loved this club since I was a kid and to have a chance to represent them is an honor. 

“This is only the first step, now it's time to focus on the eMBS Cup and every other national and international trophy out there.” 

The last rounds of the league saw some of the most heated matchups of the entire championship.  

Teams fought to secure one of eight seats in the eMBS Cup for a chance to win their clubs’ first title in the same way  Ittihad won theirs.  Al-Qadisiah club claimed the eighth and last spot and joined the teams that will get a shot at the cup title. 

 “The incredible excitement the league saw was due to the desire to participate in the cup. We want to win this one for our fans, they deserve only the best. The need to secure a place pressured us physically and psychologically. In the end, we managed to grab the eighth seat,” said Majid Al-Saleem of his team’s qualification. 

The eMBS cup will be held May 13-14 in Riyadh. The knockout format tournament will be hosted at SARENA SAFEIS Arena, which can accommodate 1,000 spectators.  

Tickets for the eMBS Cup are available on the tournament website and spectators from around the world can watch the matches via the SAFEIS Twitch and YouTube. 

The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) is the regulating body in charge of developing elite gaming athletes and the gaming community and industry in the country. Its goal is for Saudis to be among the most accomplished gamers around the world and for Saudi Arabia to be a global gaming hub. 

Since its establishment in late 2017, the federation has organized multiple world-class national and international tournaments. For more information, visit SAFEIS website: https://www.safeis.sa/.


Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

Updated 20 May 2019
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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

  • Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggles to just 12 points
  • He then fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period Sunday to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back to 2-1 in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
“We just played a lot tougher,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were up guarding, we were physical. We were ready to play tonight.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo’s 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch, but he didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter and he produced eight of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.
Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103 — taking the lead for the first time since Antetokounmpo scored the game’s opening basket — but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”
“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.
“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
Although Leonard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes, some grimaces from the Raptors star sparked concerns he might be injured.
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “This is playoff basketball. Everybody’s hurting, you just have to keep fighting.”
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and fellow reserve Brogdon added 20. Center Brook Lopez led the Bucks starters with 16 points.
“I feel like we gave ourselves several chances,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We weren’t able to get over the hump.
“When you have opportunities you’ve got to make them and we didn’t quite make enough of our good ones. I think we’ll be better in game four, Giannis, everybody.”