Stakes higher as WASL Gulf and West Asia Final Phase all set to roll
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Stakes have gotten much higher now that the West Asia Super League (WASL) Final Phase is all set to commence.
Gulf sides Kuwait Club and Al Hilal plus Beirut Club and Gorgan of West Asia all booked direct flights to the Semi-Finals of their respective groups, indeed a luxury as they have earned weeks of rest before plunging back into action.
But the work surely won't stop for the four as they closely monitor the best-of-3 Qualification to Semi-Finals to see who their opponents would be.
Action starts on Monday with the WASL-Gulf Qualification to Semi-Finals games, with Group B 2-seed Al Manama hosting Kazma, Group A's No. 3, at the BBA Arena (22:00 local time).
Winner of the series will face Al Hilal, who made it to the semis after ruling Group A following their conquest of Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai last Tuesday.
The ball club from Dubai, as a result, settled for second, and will figure in a clash with Al Nasr Riyadh, the third-seed in the other group, in the QSF.
Al Nasr caught the last bus to the WASL Final Phase even before their final Group Phase assignment thanks to Al Manama, who provided the free ride by eliminating Al Sadd from contention through a 98-86 decision.
The Shabab Al Ahli-Al Nasr series will tip off on Tuesday night at the former's stomping grounds in Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall at 22:00 local time, with the winner set to take on the undefeated Kuwait Club (6-0).
Kuwait Club reached the semis ahead of everybody else in the league upon clinching the top spot of Group B following a masterful 106-78 conquest of Al Manama last week for also their fifth win in as many outings.
The WASL-West Asia Qualification to Semi-Finals, on the other hand, will begin on Wednesday night featuring Group A 2-seed ZobAhan and Group B third-placer Al Naft.
Game time is at 22:00 local time, with ZobAhan hosting their Iraqi counterparts at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran, Iran.
The two will look to earn the right to face Gorgan in the semis. The Iranian squad entered the said stage as it captured the no. 1 spot in Group B following a victory over Al Naft on the road last Wednesday night.
Gorgan earned the outright berth after Beirut Club, who were the first West Asia team to do so by emerging as the best unit in Group A.
The Lebanese side will wait for the winner between rival Al Riyadi and Orthodox Amman, whose series will start on Thursday at the Saeb Salam Stadium.