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Players and team officials of Al Rayyan are seen with Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrehman Al Thani, President of Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF), at Al Gharafa Indoor Hall in Doha yesterday. Al Rayyan beat Eljaish to win the Heir Apparent Cup.
by DANotzki SANTOS
DOHA: Al Rayyan beat Eljaish last night, 70-62, and clinched this season’s Heir Apparent Cup championship title along with the top plum of QR300,000.
Al Rayyan’s swarming defense held on until the end pestering the stubborn Army squad who while barging into the final match unbeaten, could not get their game going.
Army took the first period, 17-9 but Coach Brian Rowsom’s wards unleashed their shackling defense and limited Eljaish’s output in the second period to four points to take the driver’s seat 27-21 at halftime.
Ali Turki drilled back-to-back three-point shots to bring Eljaish closer at 31-36 at the onset of the third quarter but Harold Boney Watson and Erfan Saeed sank a basket each to keep the count at 40-31.
Ali connected with one more from beyond the arc but Watson countered with his own trey to bring back their lead back to nine at 43-34 with 1:46 left in the third at Al Gharafa Stadium.
Eljaish went on an 8-2 rampage to inch closer at 42-45 before Jeremeo Davidson converted both chances from the stripe off an Army foul for a 47-42 advantage for Al Rayyan going into the final period.
Davidson drew first blood in the final canto. Yaseen Mousa then scored one from under, Ngombo hit back-to-back twinner and Watson canned two from the stripes for a 10-2 early Al Rayyan assault that got the black shirts soaring high at 57-44.
Eljaish were getting got smothered on the offensive end until Fadi put the fight up for Army igniting an 11-4 blitz to make it 55-61 with 4:09 left in the game.
Ali brought it to 59-63 with another rainbow and as time went down to 1:59, he buried another after a Watson split from the foul lane, and all of a sudden Eljaish came breathing down Rayyan’s neck at 62-64 with 1:35 left.
Ngombo scored an under goal stab and the black shirts played good defense on the other end as time ticked away with Rayyan leading, 66-62.
Mousa was fouled in the dying seconds and he cashed in on both occasions to seal the win and the championship title for Al Rayyan.
Mousa was adjudged Best Player of the Tournament and went home richer by QR15,000.
The title is Rayyan’s seventh since the league began in 1999, and their first after getting it last in 2009. THE PENINSULA