09 - 17
June 2023
12 Mohammed Alsuwailem (HIL)
to read

FIBA WASL Third-Place Games: Grudge matches galore as last two Final 8 tickets up for grabs

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Four teams are out to secure the last two tickets to the FIBA WASL Final 8 by way of the knockout Third-Place Games this week.

Gulf teams Al Hilal and Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai plus Beirut Club and ZobAhan of West Asia are all keen to make a last-ditch effort in qualifying for the much-anticipated meet set on June for another chance to vie for the biggest prize.

Action starts on Monday night, with Shabab Al Ahli hosting Al Hilal at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in Dubai City in a clash of old foes.


Both teams have already met one another twice in the Group Phase being pooled in Group B, and Shabab Al Ahli will definitely be coming in armed with added motivation over what happened in their previous encounter last March 20.

The Emirati club, at the time, was looking to sweep the Saudi Arabian side in their season series to clinch the group's top seed and earn an outright qualification to the Semi-Finals, but none of that happened as they bowed, 81-72.

Shabab Al Ahli did manage to make it to the Semis albeit through a longer path, but ultimately bowed to the undefeated Kuwait Club via 0-2 sweep as injuries, particularly to star big man Qais Omar Alshabebi, took its toll on the squad.

But surely, the team knows, too, that they will be up against a much hungrier Al Hilal this time, especially after being swept by Manama in the Semis.

Nick Minnerath, Hamed Lateef, and Brandon Triche are seen to once again spearhead Shabab Al Ahli's payback attempt against Al Hilal, who will be banking on their towering frontcourt duo of Mo Alsuwailem and Clint Chapman.

Another vengeful match is expected to take place as well over at the West Asia League's battle for third between Beirut Club and ZobAhan.


It could be recalled that the reigning Lebanese champions began the season with back-to-back wins, but would suffer their first loss at the hands of the Iranian counterparts through a 72-79 result in Tehran last January 25.

The rematch will now be on their home floor at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Zouk Mikael on Wednesday night, and Beirut Club, no doubt, will try to get back at their first tormentors for all of their ever-supportive fans to witness.

But the Final 8 seat, of course, will be the primary motivation of these two after suffering crushing sweeps in the best-of-3 Semis against their domestic rivals.

Beirut Club, the very first team in West Asia to reach the Semis after finishing as the no. 1 seed in Group A (3-1), lost to a retooled Al Riyadi. ZobAhan, meanwhile, could not muster a comeback the way they did in past games and bowed to Gorgan.

Seen to lead the charge for Beirut Club would be Ali Haidar, who will be up against fellow veteran internationalist Arsalan Kazemi of ZobAhan in a Third-Place Game featuring ball clubs that consist mostly of national team stalwarts.