Spencer and El Khatib power Al Riyadi past Petrochimi
CHENZHOU (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016) – First rate import Dewarwick Spencer and living legend Fadi El Khatib combined to power Al Riyadi past Petrochimi, 74-63, to finish atop Group A at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016 in Chenzhou, China.
Spencer led the way for the Lebanese club with a strong double-double performance, while El Khatib turned back the clock to put up 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Young gun Wael Arakji also impressed, scoring 15 points and grabbing 7 boards, while big man Ali Haidar protected the basket well with 5 huge blocks on top of 10 points. Petrochimi did not get much from reliables like Gerald Robinson and Oshin Sahakian, each of whom scored just 5 points. James White and Behnam Yakhchali paced the losing side with 22 and 13 points respectively.
Turning Point: Petrochimi had the advantage in the first half, leading by 3 at the halftime break, but Al Riyadi came out hungry in the third period. Buoyed on Haidar’s tough defense and some big shots from Spencer and El Khatib, the Lebanese quintet were able to tie the game heading into the fourth period. That’s when Lady Luck permanently smiled on Al Riyadi. Coach Slobodan Subotic’s wards tossed in 17 points and kept Petrochimi scoreless for the first 5:30 of the final frame to erect an insurmountable 67-50 lead. After absorbing that salvo, Petrochimi were just unable to recover.
Stats Don't Lie: In a game that was as tight as this one for three whole quarters, the devil can be found in the details. Turnovers played a huge part, especially for Petrochimi, who coughed the ball up 16 times, leading to Al Riyadi scoring 19 points off turnovers. A couple of those costly errors came early in the fourth quarter when the Lebanese made their critical scoring run.
Game Hero: Dewarwick Spencer played all 40 minutes for Al Riyadi, and he did not disappoint. Spencer ended up with 23 points on the strength of 3 three-pointers. That went along with 11 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal, and he won his personal battle against Petrochimi’s Gerald Robinson, who struggled all game long. Spencer held Robinson to a measly 3-of-12 field goal shooting for the match.
The Bottom Line: What was billed as a classic turned into a rout when Al Riyadi exploited Petrochimi’s unfortunate scoring drought in the fourth period. The Lebanese, consequently, secured first place in Group A and are set to face Barsy Atyrau in the next round. For their part, Petrochimi return to the drawing board, and they will prepare for a knockout affair with dangerous Al Shorta in the Quarter-Finals.