Mega cagers edge RRJM in UFBF tournament

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Updated 27 February 2013
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Mega cagers edge RRJM in UFBF tournament

Action continued at the 13th UFBF Fahd Alireza Engineering Consultants’ Eastern Oilers Cup last Friday with newcomer Mega Team beating the equally formidable RRJM in Junior D-4 Division at Al Qadisia gymnasium here.
Both teams entered the match undefeated on identical 3-0 win-loss card but Mega proved the better team, but almost squandered an 18-point lead in the third quarter in posting a heart-stopping 79-78 victory.
With the win, Mega sent a strong warning that they are the team to beat in this division with a clean 4-0 record.
Fahd Alireza Engineering Consultants is the tournament’s major sponsor. Al Hoty Group of Companies, Mohammad Dossary Hospital, 7-11 and Mega Construction are minor sponsors.
Owned and managed by Faisal Renee Muniz Ombayan, Mega had a slow start with main man and veteran Allan Butito only making 9 of 14 first quarter points against RRJM’s 21. But things turned around in the second period with Butito’s supremacy in the paint that saw him haul down the offensive rebounds and score 12 of the team’s 28 points. RRJM went withou a single basket in the last 3 minutes and Mega ended the half ahead by 10 points 42-32.
Teaming up with another veteran Johnny Malate, ace guard Bryan Solis and rookies Mark Concepcion and Keith Morabe, Butito made back-to-back baskets for an 18-point lead 50-32 and made RRJM scoreless in a two-minute mark. RRJM coach called for a cease-fire trying to break Mega’s momentum and it worked as RRJM had a 13-4 run with a man-to-man defense and came within nine 45-54 behind Johnnel Cabuyao, Sonny Cariaga, Edwin Villegas and Ralph Tablang 2:54 minutes left in the third quarter. But Malate and Butito dominated inside the paint scoring the team’s 8 points and grabbing many rebounds and stretched the lead anew 62-49 to end the period.
It was an intense battle in the last quarter as RRJM erased a 13-point deficit behind Cajote, Cabuyao and Cariaga to come within 3 points 71-74, 1:32 to play. Mega’s Solis converted two foul shots off Tablang and Butito had a split charity and again Solis completed his steal for a 79-71 lead with 1:20 left. But Cariaga hit another booming triple and Cabuyao made 4 points and RRJM crept to within a point 78-79 in less than a minute to play. Both teams applied heavy pressure and failed to score from there as the final buzzer sounded.
Butito top-scored for Mega with 26 points and had 12 rebounds, Solis had 14, Malate added 12 while Morabe and Mamaid combined for 16 markers. Cariaga led RRJM with 31 points, Cabuyao added 21 while Villegas and Tablang each contributed 11 points.
Other game results: Gubat (71) beat Kabsa (63); JGC Samurai (97) thrashed Aramex (73); Metals recorded its first win in 4 games against Al Tuwairqi, 83-76; King Abdulaziz Squadron (100) downed MFSI (92); Gas Arabian continued its winning streak by beating IECEP-ERC, 74-67; Mega Const (79) edged RRJM (78); Huya (77) beat Beta Sigma (70) while Al Osais (79) defeated Al Kholi (69).


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
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‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”