FIBA WASL Final 8 2023: The 5 who stood out in Dubai
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - It has been weeks since the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8 inaugurals concluded, yet some fans haven't totally forgotten all about the strong individual performances they witnessed during the duration of the tournament.
One can't blame them, really, since the 09-17 June showpiece held in the Emirati city became a reintroduction of sorts for some of the more established names, while others took it as an opportunity to show that they indeed belong to the newest pan-regional basketball competition.
Here are the 5 who sparkled in the City of Gold.
Manama became the first-ever WASL Final 8 champions following a thrilling 67-59 win over old tormentor Kuwait Club in the Final, and Mosti Rashed was a big reason behind it.
The 21-year-old led the way with 18 points, none bigger than the pressure-packed free throws he coolly sank with 28.5 seconds left to close the door on the opposition's comeback bid from 19 down.
Rashed earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors afterwards, capping off an impressive Final 8 campaign personally that saw him finish as Manama's leading scorer with 19.5 points.
Hamad Hasan was the Final 8's best 3-point shooter. In five games, the Kuwait Club forward made an average of 2.4 triples on 4.0 attempts for a 60-percent accuracy.
He went 6-of-8 from rainbow country in their 75-60 win over Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai in the Group Phase, finishing with 26 points for his best showing of the tournament.
Hasan was also the one who carried the fight for Kuwait Club in the Final. There, he poured 25 points on 62.5-percent field goal shooting - including 3-of-6 from deep - and 6 rebounds, though his efforts weren't enough as the WASL-Gulf champs failed to repeat over Manama.
The 25-year-old finished the tourney as his team's third-best scorer with 15.0 points 61.9-percent shooting from the floor, alongside 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
This list wouldn't be complete without the Final 8's best scorer and the top man in efficiency.
Injuries totally derailed Al Riyadi's bid of becoming Final 8 kings - and winning a WASL double - but Duop Reath did what he could to lead the fight for the Lebanese powerhouse.
The Australia Boomer finished with per-game averages of 25.0 points on 60.8-percent FG shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 31.3 minutes for an EFF of 31.3.
Reath also registered the most double-double performances in the Final 8, finishing with such in all but one of Al Riyadi's four outings in the inaugural meet.
Karvel Anderson showcased his scoring ability in the Final 8, which ultimately enabled BC Astana to conclude their campaign with a third-place finish in the maiden meet.
The veteran guard finished the competition as the Central Asia representative's best scorer with 19.4 points, highlighted by a 30-piece in their Group Phase win versus Shahrdary Gorgan which, at the time, was the tournament record for most points scored in a game.
He then poured 24 in the next game to deal Kuwait Club in their first-ever loss in WASL, in the process clinching the Group B top seed to sweep their way to the Semi-Finals.
Anderson, though, got shackled by Manama's defense in the Semis and only mustered 7. But he made sure to bounce back in the Third-Place Game versus Al Riyadi, scoring 17 markers along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the team from Kazakhstan to the 94-90 win.
Gorgan didn't have the campaign they wanted in the Final 8 but the club made sure to leave Dubai with a win, and Mohammad Jamshidi helped lead the way in the graceful exit.
In their 85-75 conquest of Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai, the veteran internationalist erupted for 35 points on a 65.2-percent clip from the field. He also racked up 4 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals in 36 minutes of action for an efficiency of 38.0.
Historic was Jamshidi's outing as he set the Final 8 single game scoring and EFF records, eclipsing the previous marks made by Marcus Georges Hunt (32) and Sir'Dominic Pointer and Reath (35.0).
The 31-year-old guard finished the tournament as its third-leading scorer with 22.0 points, together with 2.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.3 steals for a 19.3. efficiency rating.