09 - 17
June 2023
to read

Games to look forward to at WASL Final 8

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Sure-fire thrillers highlight what should be an eventful Group Phase of the West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8 next week.

The action starts on 9 June at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall. From old rivalries rekindled to a champion-versus-champion affair, we take a look at some of the marquee games in the Group Phase that we could all anticipate.

BC Astana vs Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai

09 June 2023
19:00 (GMT+4)

Hosts Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai will raise the Final 8's curtains at 19:00 local time against a team they faced six years ago in the continent's highest club competition.

The Emirati crew will be taking on BC Astana, whom they last fought in the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017 in China.

Surely, Shabab Al Ahli are looking at it as a chance to earn some payback after what happened in Chenzhou. They absorbed an 83-53 beatdown against the most successful Kazakhstan ball club, who eventually bagged home the bronze.

Shabab Al Ahli, at the time, were led by Qais Omar Alshabebi. It will be intriguing to see how the current team will be able to fare this time against an Astana side that's fresh off winning their 11th domestic title.

Kuwait Club vs Gorgan

09 June 2023
21:45 (GMT+4)

Kuwait Club are coming into the Final 8 as the only undefeated team with a 10-0 overall record, so eyes are on the inaugural WASL-Gulf League champions if they can remain unscathed in the league's pinnacle event.


Tough tests surely await Coach Peter Schomers' squad as they are set to lock horns with some foes they haven't met before  in WASL. That includes Gorgan, who will be their very first assignment on opening night at 21:45 local time.

The club is entering the Final 8 as Iranian Super League champions anew. Morale is sky-high for the team, but there's definitely an extra push, too: bouncing back from a runner-up finish in the WASL-West Asia League Final.

Expect, too, that stars will show up in the Group B affair, with Mohammad Jamshidi and Behnam Yakhchali leading Gorgan's attack against a team that recently confirmed Australian national team player Thon Maker to fortify their championship bid.

Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai vs Kuwait Club

11 June 2023
18:45 (GMT+4)

It was in this very same venue where Shabab Al Ahli saw their WASL-Gulf title hopes get crushed at the hands of Kuwait Club. They got swept in the Semi-Finals after absorbing a 110-100 decision in Game 2 of the best-of-3 series last April 25.

As fate would have it, the team could exact revenge as they will be crossing paths with their tormentors once more on 11 June at 18:45 local time.

Aside from that motivation, Nick Minnerath and the rest of the unit are coming into the meet with plenty of confidence after ruling the UAE National Basketball League for the second time in a row, getting their 10th title overall in the process.

Beirut Club vs Al Riyadi

12 June 2023
21:45 (GMT+4)

WASL-West Asia's first-ever champions Al Riyadi will see themselves taking on a team they're extremely familiar with in Beirut Club on June 12.

The Group A duel is at 21:45 local time, with the 17-time Lebanese Basketball League champions looking to repeat against their rivals, which they swept in the West Asia Semis to become one of the early entrants to the Final 8.

But Beirut Club surely wouldn't want to be on the losing end of Wael Arakji and Co. yet again. The 2022 Lebanese champs are out for redemption not just against Al Riyadi but to boost their morale after finishing only third in their league this time.

BC Astana vs Kuwait Club

14 June 2023
19:00 (GMT+4)

It couldn't get any better than this. The WASL-Gulf champions against the kings of Kazakhstan at the City of Gold. Potential Finals preview, perhaps? It may sound like a reach but given the tournament format, you never know.

BC Astana are coming into the Final 8 off a Finals sweep in the local league. They beat Barsy Atyrau in three last 6 May to cop their seventh straight and 11th National League title overall.


It would be interesting to see if the team from Kazakhstan could become the first to put an end to a streak that will surely be tough to replicate in the next WASL seasons.

The Final Phase

It may be a bit far to look at right now, but what makes the Final Phase exciting is the possibility of old foes battling one another at least in the Semis.

Since they're in different groups, there's the potential of WASL-West Asia finalists Al Riyadi and Gorgan meeting anew, as well as another encounter between the protagonists of the WASL-Gulf title bout in Kuwait Club and Manama.

The Final 8 Semis, for starters, will see the two best teams of each group play in the crossover knockouts, with the triumphant sides set to play in the winner-take-all Final for the right to become the first-ever champions of WASL.