'Our target is to win every game' says Beirut's Elie Rustom
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - It was another game, another easy win for Beirut Club. Their previous victory over Al-Ittihad Ahli was not only their third straight win, it was their third straight double-digit win. The win actually brought their average margin of victory down to 22.3 points per game.
"We are playing game by game and our target is to win every game."
It’s understandable that the team is on cloud nine as the only undefeated team left in this inaugural season of WASL - West Asia. And with the top team of each Group getting a direct pass to the Semi-Finals of the Final Phase, Elie Ruston are gunning to secure that top spot.
"I think we are on the right track to finish as the group leaders," said the 35-year-old veteran of the team’s undefeated start. "I hope the team stays injury-free and hope to continue the winning streak."
Rustom is a key part of the team, as evident from his 12-point, 3-steal output against Orthodox Amman a few weeks ago. However, the team is talented and deep enough to be very, very good that missing a piece here and there everynow and then won’t hurt as they displayed by handily beating Al-Ittihad Ahli without Rustom present.
"We have a very good team mixed with experienced and young players," he said of the team’s structure. "Plus the level of our league is one of the best in the region."
Again, Beirut Club are now high in confidence and no one can blame them. The schedule ahead is in their favor as well with two of the remaining three games set to be played at home in Lebanon. That’s why it’s not hard for the team to see themselves finishing the Group Phase without a single defeat.
"I hope so," said Rustom of their hopes for a perfect season. "We are playing game by game and our target is to win every game."
Winning all of their games so far has been fun, but the overall experience of playing in WASL has been a positive one for Rustom and the Lebanese club.
"WASL is a new and great concept, especially after COVID pandemic," he said. "We, as players, miss the international competition. I am glad my team is participating in WASL and so far the experience has been very good and we’re looking forward for the later stages."
"In my opinion, the players and clubs share almost the same benefits of playing in WASL," he added. "It is international exposure for both, which brings more interest and sponsors to the game."
Of course, it is not all glitz and glamour. Playing in WASL means you also have to prepare to play in the high-level of competition that each of these teams bring. With each of these teams being championship-caliber teams in their respective countries, that means everyone has to bring their A-Game.
"It’s a new challenge during the season and off-season because building a team to participate in WASL is not the same as building a team for the local championship."
Still, it’s a whole lot of fun, even for players who have seen and done a lot in the basketball world.
"It’s more fun for the athlete to enjoy and experience more games during the season and being able to focus on 2 big targets [WASL and local championship]."
"And, of course, winning it all and adding a new title is the most important thing."