09 - 17
June 2023
5 Amir Saoud (RIY)
Game Report
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Al Riyadi beat Beirut Club anew sans Arakji, sweep way into Final 8 Semis

DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - Al Riyadi refused to fold even after suffering one tough blow early in the game as they took down Beirut Club once again, 106-91, to sweep their way into the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8 Semi-Finals, Monday night.

The WASL-West Asia champions lost Wael Arakji about four minutes into the Lebanese derby, but the remaining players made sure that the ship would remain steady in order to get the job done against their inter-city rivals.

Al Riyadi did just that, with Kevin Murphy, Duop Reath, and Karim Zeinoun helping take care of business that gave a bit of relief to the fans that filled the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall, which fell silent after what happened to the star guard.

The Lebanese league champions have clinched the top spot of Group A with a 2-0 card, and will now wait for the winner between Kuwait Club and BC Astana for their opponents in the knockout crossover Semis on 16 June.

Game heroes: Reath and Murphy tallied 24 points each, with the former adding 11 rebounds on the way to bagging STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors. Murphy, on the other hand, scored 14 of his points in the second period alone.

Zeinoun finished with 17 points on 4 triples, on top of 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Amir Saoud registered his own double-double with 16 points and 10 assists, which he added with 5 rebounds and a pair of steals in almost 36 minutes of play.

Hayk Gyokchyan made his presence felt as well with 12 markers and 10 boards as five players scored in double figures, stepping up in their own ways for a team that's already without Ali Mansour due to an ankle injury he suffered versus Manama.

Stats don't lie: Al Riyadi made a Final 8 record 19 triples in the win, They also dished out 27 assists, and dominated the boards, 49-32.

Turning point: Al Riyadi actually came out hot with a 14-2 start into the game, but it wasn't until the third quarter where they pulled away for good.

Murphy's free throws with less than six minutes to go in the said period sparked a 13-2 run for a 76-58 lead, signaling the beginning of the romp.

They said: "I don't want to comment a lot technically because I hate this kind of games. It didn't add anything for us for our performance. We faced a team that has nothing to lose and we have everything to do to win. We have three point guards, unfortunately we lost three of them. We don't have any more point guards to continue. But we still have a very good team ready to fight." - Ahmad El Farran, Head Coach, Al Riyadi

"I just think we had to come out focused today. Obviously we lost two of our main guys, and just tried to fill in what we're missing. Everybody just had to step up a little bit more." - Duop Reath, Al Riyadi

"Everybody understands that this is one of the favorite teams in this tournament. As Manama said, they are a very great team. It's not enough sometimes just to do your best. You need to go [past] your limits. We lost the first quarter, the first five minutes, which is very important to start the game. And we lost the third quarter. Also very important. Also, rebounds." - Renatas Kurilionokas, Head Coach, Beirut Club