Arabi, Gharaffa enter semi-finals
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA
MAN of the match Alvin Mofunanya and William Byrd sparked Al Arabi Club to a spirited comeback in 75-68 triumph over strong Al Sadd Club in a crucial match and set up the Heir Apparent Cup basketball showdown with Al Rayyan Club.
In another match earlier, defending champion Al Gharaffa Club stormed to a 71-42 triumph against whipping boys Al Wakrah and book its place in the semi-finals. The victory in its last group league match placed Gharaffa at the top of the pool two with a 3-0 win-loss record.
In the semi-finals, to be played on Thursday, Rayyan will take on Arabi and Al Jaish is scheduled to have a face off with Gharaffa.
Sadd and Arabi clashed in a match which had the last berth of the semi-finals at stake.
Trailing till more than half the match, Arabi staged a brave return through Mofunanya and Byrd to forge ahead before the end of the third quarter (55-49).
Then, Arabi clasped on to the lead to post the vital victory and move into the knock out stage.
Mofunanya scored a thrilling double- digit double (21 points and 15 rebounds). Byrd also recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jalloh Abdulla played his support role well and netted 15 points.
For Sadd, Djibril Abdoulaye and Daoud Mousa shared the scoring honours with 17 each.
The former accounted for 10 rebounds, the second highest behind Michael Benjamin (4 points and 12 rebounds). Khalid Suliman and Saad Abdulrahman got 13 and 12, respectively. But poorer shooting from the shaded area (32 to 42 of Arabi) proved the decisive factor for Sadd.
The first match had a slow start and it even helped Wakrah or the defeat might have been even more one-sided. Around the middle of the first quarter, Gharaffa had only two-point lead (7-5). But it began exerting pressure on the opponent and finding its range after the first 15 minutes.
At the end of the half-time, Gharaffa went 12 points clear, leading by 38-24. At one stage, it was even up by 29 points.
Gharaffa widened its advantage to 55-32 at the end of the third quarter with man of the match Sulaiman Bermaho leading the charge.
With the minutes ticking away, Gharaffa kept scoring and ended up an easy winner.
Bermaho, during his 26 minutes at the court, collected a matchhigh 23 with eight rebounds.
Boney Watson played his playmaker role well and chipped in with 13 points and seven assists.
Oussey Nou Ndiaye’s 10 had two three pointers.
Wakrah, who lost all the three matches, had only two shooters to reach double digits. Sou Abdou topped with 14 in about 37 minutes at the court and Elliah Clarke scored 12 with 10 rebounds. Among the rest of the scores, Darren Kelly had the highest with 9.