Al Hilal send Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai skidding, clinch Semi-Finals trip
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) - Al Hilal added to the once-unbeaten Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai's woes, 81-72, to clinch the remaining Semi-Finals seat in the WASL-Gulf playoffs, Monday night at the Green Basketball Court in Riyadh.
Clint Chapman and Khalid Abdel Gabar starred in the 15-4 run for a 76-60 lead with 4:53 left to play, enough for the home team to celebrate as they withstood their foes' gallant stand that saw the latter get within just five after being down 18 early.
The Saudi Arabian ball club ended the preliminaries as the best team in Group A with a 5-1 record while handing their Emirati counterparts back-to-back losses, indeed a tough predicament for a team that started the tilt with four straight wins.
Chapman finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Osama Albargawi also came through with 19 markers as well, as the two starters combined for 25 points in the first half to help their side to a 49-37 lead at the break.
Star center Mo Alsuwailem tallied yet another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds plus 5 blocks, in the process earning STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors as he earned 30-percent of the fan vote.
Abdel Gabar chipped in 12 for Al Hilal, who wasted the Herculean effort of Nick Minnerath for Shabab Al Ahli. He finished with 26 points, 14 of which he made in the third alone to power the visitors' comeback attempt that ultimately fell short.
Earlier, Kazma subdued the also-ran Al Bashaer in the latter's own floor in Muscat, 90-74, to head into the playoffs riding a two-game winning streak.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game : Shane Rector led the way with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block, while Salah Mejri produced 16 markers and 12 boards plus 3 blocks as the two continued to lead the Kuwaiti side's resurgence.
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Mejri sparked the 8-2 run to end the first quarter in their favor, 25-15, which marked the beginning of a lopsided show that allowed the club to end the group stage at 3-3.
Latavious Williams also finished with 16 points, 12 of which he scored in the first half as he helped Kazma to the second-quarter eruption that left their foes overwhelmed. Ahmad Albaloushi supplied 11 points and 8 caroms.
Yousiff Borhamah scored just 5 but did extremely well on defense with 6 steals, which he all racked up in the first half to reset the WASL single-game steals record. Previous was 5 set by Al Bashaer's Aaron Clyde Parks and Antwaine Wiggins of Al Naft.
Kazma will now turn their attention to the Qualification to Semi-Finals, where they will be up against the no. 2 seed of Group B in Al Manama. Winner of the said series is set to cross paths with Al Hilal in the semis.