Game Photos. Game Details and Stats
BEIRUT, Lebanon (23rd FIBA Asia Champions Cup): Defending champions Al Riyadi Beirut unleashed a fury of offensive avalanche early in the game leaving a hapless Iraqi outfit Duhok withered at the end of the first quarter and then rolled on to a 96-51 win on Wednesday, their third in a row, which virtually sealed them a place in the semifinals.
Riyadi have an off day on Thursday, and will use it to recharge their batteries in preparation for the pivotal battle for the top place in the Prelim Round against Iran’s Mahram on Friday. Mahram, enjoying their break on Wednesday, were watching the game with keen interest from the sidelines, with assistant coach Mehran Atashi keenly pointing out notes to Mostafa Hashemi.
“Well, it looks like we have to go all out on Friday,” said Riyadi coach Slobodan Subotic after his team’s third successive facile win.
Riyadi’s head-to-head record against Duhok was rather overwhelming, going into the game, with the Lebanese giants having won all the six previous games by a convincing margin – including the two quarterfinal play-off games in the WABA League earlier this year.
The Manara side’s dominance over the Iraqi team continued for another game with there being very little respite for Duhok from the Riyadi avalanche.
Ahmad Ibrahim (pic above) poured in a tournament-high 33 points, 12 of them in the first quarter, in a fleeting show of field shooting of 12/19.
“My players are getting together now. I need to give them as many minutes as I can before going into the weekend,” Subotic defended his tactics to start the game with his best players, and persist with them even after taking a mammoth lead.
“The important thing in this game for me was the start. After last night’s game, I think we did very well today to start on a strong note,” the Greco-Serb said.
“I hope to continue the streak through the weekend,” he signed off.
Mahdi Mohammed was the most conspicuous local player for Duhok with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
“Our first two games have been against teams not only in this competition, but in entire Asia. We can only play hard and try our best without bothering too much results,” Mahdi said.
“But hopefully we will improve in the next two games, and brace ourselves well for the play-offs,” he added.