AMMAN (WABA Championship 2017) – Lebanon have locked up the title in the West Asia Basketball Association (WABA) Championship 2017 in Amman, Jordan after beating hosts Jordan on Day Four of competition. Iran and Syria also notched huge victories to book seats in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017.
Iran bounced back from yesterday’s loss to Lebanon by unloading their fury on Iraq, 92-80. Right off the bat, Iran led comfortably and even put up a 19-point bubble in the second half. Iraq mounted a rally of sorts in the third and fourth periods, but Team Melli just proved to be too composed and too deep.
Mohammad Jamshidi had 27 points to lead the Iranians in their victory, while wingman Behnam Yakhchali also did pretty well with 18 points on the strength of 3 triples. On the other end, naturalized player Kevin Gallowayspearheaded Iraq’s offense with 29 points and 2 three-pointers. Ali Hamasstarted in this contest, and he turned out to score 15 points on 5-of-8 field goal shooting for the losing side.
In the second game, Lebanon defeated Jordan, 72-61, to move up to 4-0 and officially win the WABA Championship 2017 crown. The Cedars did not waste any time in this one, building up a commanding 27-9 lead at the end of the first period. Coach Joe Moujaes and his wards would not relinquish the advantage the rest of the way despite Jordan staying within striking distance.
Lebanon were successful on defense, holding down erstwhile leading Jordanian scorer Mahmoud Abdeen to just 2-of-12 field goal shooting en route to only 8 points. The Cedars also out-rebounded Al Nashama, 41-35, and forced 20 turnovers from the home team.
Timeless scorer Fadi El Khatib led Lebanon with 33 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals, while frontliner Ali Haidar tallied 18 points and 8 boards. Naturalized player Ater Majok also made his presence felt on the defensive end, grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 1 shot. Mohammad Shaher Hussein was Jordan’s most impressive player in this one, recording 11 points, 8 rebounds and 3 rejections, while Mousa Al-Awadi also did well with 16 points.
To end the day, Syria played their finest game so far to pull the rug from under Palestine, 86-70. After trailing by nine to end the first quarter, the Syrians rallied in the second period to lead at the half, 43-34. They would hold on to that lead for the entire second half and preserve the win thanks to good rebounding, playmaking and defense. Syria had 49 rebounds to just 39 for Palestine while also being +4 in assists and +7 in steals. Syria’s second unit also stepped up here, outscoring Palestine’s bench, 20-11.
Journeyman Micheal Madanly paced Syria, which saw five players score in double-digits, with 21 points, while Omar Cheikh Ali had a superb 17-point, 19-rebound effort. Magd Harbasha and Wael Jlilaty also did well for the victors with 16 and 14 points respectively. On the other end, Jamal Abu-Shamala led Palestine with 21 points and 10 boards. Mainstays Salim Sakakini and Tamer Habash struggled, though, combining for just 8-of-29 field goal shooting for the Palestinians.
Syria’s win ensured their qualification, and they are tied with Iraq at 1-3. Palestine, meanwhile, are winless after four outings. For Palestine to make it to the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 tourney, they need to beat Iraq tomorrow by 20 or more points.
Iran beat Iraq, 92-80
Lebanon beat Jordan, 72-61
Syria beat Palestine, 86-70
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