09 - 15
June 2024
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BCL Asia 2024 Final: Who will make history?

DUBAI (UAE) - History is written by the victors, as the old saying goes, and many have been waiting to see which team will author the narrative in its favor now that the inaugural Basketball Champions League Asia (BCL Asia) is all set on Saturday night.

Game time is set at 18:30 local time, with Al Riyadi and hosts Shabab Al Ahli Dubai taking center stage as the protagonists of the highly-anticipated battle for the right to become the first-ever champions of the continent's most prestigious club competition.

It will be a rematch of teams that faced each other in the Group Phase just last Monday, which saw the reigning FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) champions win big, 102-88.

The Undefeated: Al Riyadi

Much of the attention is drawn to Al Riyadi as no team has figured out his uber-efficient roster bannered by Wael Arakji and Thon Maker. They're coming into the title bout as the only unbeaten team in the tournament with a pristine 4-0 record overall.

Furthermore, they are buoyed by a scorching-hot performance in the Semi-Finals, where they shot 65.3 percent from the floor - including 14 made from deep - to take down the Hiroshima Dragonflies of Japan, 121-89, on Friday night.

Coach Ahmad Farran's squad has been scoring over 100 points in BCL Asia. The way they have been dominating the competitions speaks so much of their intentions to lord over the tournament formerly known as the Champions Cup and become its inaugural winners.

Doing so would be a perfect way to cap off what has been a successful season so far for the Lebanese powerhouse, who, before becoming the new FIBA WASL champions, successfully defended their titles in WASL-West Asia and their domestic league as well.

Can the Yellow Castle finish their story? Their ever-passionate fan base would want that to happen but don't forget that there remains a major threat to that bid.

The Home Team: Shabab Al Ahli

While they got beaten in their previous meeting, since that defeat, Shabab Al Ahli have been on a roll. They beat the Liaoning Flying Leopards to end their Group Phase campaign and then stunned Shahrdary Gorgan in the Semi-Finals by way of a 73-71 decision.

That's the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) champs and the Iranian Super League champs they beat on the way to the Final, making it difficult to sleep on this team, no matter how much Travin Thibodeaux insists you to (#PleaseSleepOnUs) as he's optimistic with their chances in this meet.

Shabab Al Ahli have the right to stay positive even if they're up against the undefeated Al Riyadi. They have the homecourt advantage, after all, and so we may be bound to see a packed Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in the finale as they fight for all the trophy.

There isn't a better to win the BCL Asia in this City of Gold, which has hosted FIBA events in the past including the inaugural WASL Final 8 last year, for Shabab Al Ahli, who's won the UAE National Basketball League yet again.

The Big Ticket

But it's not just the prestige and honor to become the first league champions that's at stake in this title bout. The big responsibility of representing the continent lies ahead as the champions are set to take part in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup later this year.

The FIBA Intercontinental Cup is the world's highest club competition as it features top teams from other countries, with the most recent addition to the field coming from Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) as the Tasmania JackJumpers.


The Intercontinental Cup 2024 lineup will also include the champions of the Basketball Africa League, the Basketball Champions League Americas and Basketball Champions League Europe, and the NBA G-League United, which is representing the NBA G League.

Whoever will win on Saturday night's Final will face a daunting task ahead. But of course, the focus, for now, is on bagging home the BCL Asia trophy - and etch their names in history.

Battle for Third

Meanwhile, a Third-Place Game will also be played on Saturday at 15:30 local time between Shahrdary Gorgan and Hiroshima Dragonflies in another meeting between familiar opponents.

Of the two sides, the Dragonflies are coming in armed with an extra motivation. They have a score to settle, especially after getting beaten by the FIBA WASL Final 8 2024 third-placer finishers, 94-81, which spoiled their bid of sweeping toward the top spot of Group B.