Balanced attack leads ZobAhan to rebound for first WASL win
TEHRAN (Iran) - Nearly all hands were on deck in scoring for ZobAhan as the Iranian club logged their first WASL win, 75-54, over Al-Ittihad Ahli.
It was the first game at home for ZobAhan who were rebounding from a tough loss to Beirut Club in Lebanon the previous week. They’d start the game strong with a 26-17 first quarter and end even stronger, outscoring Al-Ittihad Ahli 11-4 in the closing interval.
Nine of the 11 fielded players got on the scoreboard for ZobAhan, with five scoring in double-digits in this big victory. Leading the way in scoring was Farid Aslani who had 15 points, but Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi (13 points), Arman Zangeneh (11 points), Sajjad Masheyekhi (11 points), and Arsalan Kazemi (10 points) were not too far behind.
Al-Ittihad Ahli had a bit more help for Ronald Delph (17 points, 13 rebounds) in Chris Darrington (19 points) but there’s still a lot left to be desired from this Syrian squad who remain winless in WASL - West Asia play.
Game Hero: Arsalan Kazemi just continues to put up Arsalan Kazemi numbers. After barely missing out on a double-double in his first game by one points, the Iran national team forward finally gets one in this win with 10 points and 12 rebounds. He also had 4 assists on only 1 turnover and missed only one field-goal attempt.
Typical Kazemi stuff.
Turning point: ZobAhan were up by 14 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter and seemed to have complete control of the game, but Al-Ittihad Ahli had actually clawed their way from being down by as much as 22 points.
However, the home team crushed any hopes of late-game heroics from the visitors as they clamped down on defense for an 11-0 run that lasted six minutes through that final quarter.
Stats don’t lie: The fact that ZobAhan had 18 assists for their 21 field-goals made in their first game was lost a bit because of the fact that they lost to Beirut in the season opener.
However, they showed in this game that sharing the ball is a part of their identity as they had 20 assists on 27 made field-goals. ZobAhan might not yet have identified a player that fits in the “super scorer” role as the other teams have, but they find their ways to get everyone touches and good shots.
“They really played a great game. They were controlling the game in the 40 minutes. There’s not much to say. We knew we had to play against a very well prepared team. It’s a good example of how good Iranian basketball is.” - Facundo Sebastian Petracci, Al-Ittihad Ahli head coach
“They played much better… Iranian basketball is very good, they always play at a high level.” - Nadim Issa, Al-Ittihad Ahli
“It was a tough game for us after the loss to Beirut Club, so we were prepared for this game. We were under a lot of pressure with many… but we were so happy that we won this game… If we could play in home in Esfahan, we are sure we could have more fans. If we were playing in Esfahan we could have thousands, but we are proud that they could be here and we could win for them.” - Arman Zangeneh, ZobAhan
“Each team in WASL are strong… each game is really hard for all teams.” - Farzad Kouhian, ZobAhan head coach