Steely Al Nasr Riyadh foil Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai's sweep bid, force Game 3
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) - Al Nasr Riyadh survived Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai, 68-67, to avert a sweep and force their WASL-Gulf Qualification to Semi-Finals best-of-3 series to a decider, Tuesday night at the Al Nasr Stadium in Riyadh.
Musab Kadi came through in the clutch, nailing the go-ahead layup off a drive to the cup with 51.5 seconds left that gave the lead back to his side after squandering a five-point edge they established with under four minutes to go in the match.
Mohammad Mubarak Alajmani tried to win it for the visitors at the buzzer when he was found with enough space for a baseline jumper but missed, and the home team could only breathe a huge sigh of relief as they finally secured the W.
The series now shifts back to Dubai next week for Game 3, with the winner set to face the undefeated Kuwait Club in the best-of-three semis.
Game heroes: Marcus Thomas bannered the season-saving win with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists on the way to earning Player of the Game honors.
Kadi finished produced 15 points, 7 boards, 2 dimes, and 2 steals, while Antonio Campbell came through with a double-double of 13 markers and 14 caroms.
Collectively, they wasted the solid outing of Nick Minnerath, who led Shabab Al Ahli with 31 points as he carried much of the load on offense.
Turning point: Thomas and Campbell joined hands for a mini 6-0 run towards a 66-61 lead with 3:50 remaining and that proved to be enough to boost their morale, thus the absence of panic in the dying seconds even when they lost it briefly.
They said: "I think we didn't play a great game. Our stats offensively were not so good. But what we had this game is heart. We played very good defense especially in the second half. We tried to fight for each ball. We did mistakes but the effort gave us the result tonight. It's a very important win, to get the confidence we can play with the teams. I still think Shabab Ah Ahli is a very good team. But there's one more game, dead or alive, we will try to prepare everything for the game in Dubai and try to win again." - Mensur Bajramovic, Head Coach, Al Nasr Riyadh
"I think we had a rough start in the first half, we were not as aggressive on defense; taking a lot of quick shots which was leading to them getting fastbreak points. But second half, we got it together. Guys started to fight. We wanted every loose ball. When you can win a game making only two three-point shots, you're doing something right. So we just gotta stay together on defense and let defense continue to win us games." - Antonio Campbell, Al Nasr Riyadh.