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Doha: Al Arabi unleashed a 15-0 end game blitz to smother Al Shamal, 72-67, in the Group 2 match of the Heir Apparent Cup at the Al Gharafa Indoor Hall yesterday.
Also yesterday, Al Rayyan defeated Qatar Sports Club 83-70 in the Group 2 clash.
Al Arabi and Al Rayyan, both who have won three matches, clash today, a match which is likely to decide the group leader.
In the first match yesterday, Mansour Elhadary and Jalloh Abdullai Jalloh pounded the hoops at the onset of the first period, combining for 15 points of Arabi’s 23 to give the defending champions a 6-point cushion after 10 minutes of play.
Mezie Mwigwe and William Tyvon tried to carry Al Shamal’s offensive in the second period but the white shirts snuffed the tandem’s efforts with scorching defense and fluid execution to stay afloat at 41-38 before the halftime break.
William Byrd took over in the third, stringing a dozen points in a torrid exchange of baskets that brought Arabi to a 58-48 advantage midway in the period.
Mwigwe would then ignite a 9-0 Shamal run to cap 15-point 3-quarter output that pushed his team just a point behind their rivals at 57-58 entering the final period.
The relentless red shirt combined with Tyvon to propel a 10-0 onslaught that pushed Shamal way ahead at 67-58 after 4 minutes into the fourth period.
The reigning champions climb back in no time and finished their rivals off, 73-67, as Byrd and Alvin Mofunanya steamrolled a 15-0 counter-offensive with sheer power under the boards to cap a sterling end game.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan paraded a lanky behemoth in new recruit Jeremeo Davidson who contributed 18 points and 9 rebounds to his new team’s 83-70 bashing of Qatar Sports Club.
Coach Brian Rowsom and his charges collared their third straight win in the league and set-up today’s main game duel with Al Arabi, also toting a clean 3-0 win-loss card, as a battle for top honours in Group 2.
Veteran Yaseen Mousa paced Al Rayyan with 22 points while ace-forward Tangi Ngombo chipped in 16. Chauncey Leslie and Eugene Oliva top scored with 21 and 20, respectively, for Qatar Club which finished the round with 2 wins and 2 losses.