Five reasons to be excited for WASL from shining stars to potential rivalries
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - The wait is almost over. Over the next week, the inaugural seasons of both WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf leagues will tip-off, marking what is a historic milestone for basketball in the region.
If you’re not sure what to expect from the upcoming games or what exactly to be pumped up for, we’ve got you covered. Here are five reasons to be excited for the upcoming WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf league seasons!
1. First of a kind
This will be the first time ever that the teams in West Asia and the Gulf have had the chance to play in the settings and formats that the WASL provides. This, of course, means it is the first time for these clubs to compete in an international home-and-away format against champion-level clubs from other countries in the region.
The players have been vocal about the excitement for the format, so why shouldn’t you be excited for this as well?
2. Fantasy matchups
If you’re a true basketball junkie, you’ve certainly had some conversation with your fellow basketball friends along the likes of “Who do you think would win in a matchup between Player X and Player Y?”.
While there are multiple national team settings which allows us to see those matchups happen, it’s never enough. Sometimes, the teams get drawn into different groups of don’t advance far enough to get those clashes we crave. In WASL competition, we’re going to get more of those opportunities for these Asia basketball stars to face against each other in a club setting.
So for those of you looking to settle the score of that debate you have with your friend concerning who the better player is between Wael Arakji and Mohammad Jamshidi, you’ll be getting some bullet point topics in these games ahead.
3. Look at the stars, look how they shine for you
The teams competing in WASL are in it to win it. And to win it against stiff competition that are all in it to win it means that you need some of the best talents you can get on your hands.
That means the fans will be treated to seeing some of the biggest stars go up against each other. Whether it’s the likes Ali Haidar or Mohammad Jamshidi who have long been stars for their national teams or even some other top notch talents from around the world, teams in both WASL leagues are ready to line them up against each other on the hardwood to get every victory they can.
Don’t forget about the rising talents that are currently flying under the radar! There might be some young talents that have been quietly waiting for their turn or even some unsung heroes that have been shining in the scenes of the local league, waiting for the spotlight to shine their way.
All in all, don’t expect a shortage of star power in WASL.
4. Riveting rivalries
With WASL being a new competition, it might seem like the rivalries would be limited. However, that is not exactly the case.
The classic domestic rivalries like Al Riyadi - Beirut Club (Lebanon) and Al Hilal - Al Nasr Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) will have to wait until the later stages of the competition as the teams from the same country were placed in different groups at the draw.
This, however, leaves room for new rivalries to bud and grow, especially as these teams will be travelling to each other’s homecourts. We’ve seen how intense these rivalries can be in the national team setting, which is more or less what should be expected when the top clubs from these nations go up against each other as well.
And if the fans are still craving for those grudge matches between teams from the same country like a clash between Alkaramah and Al-Ittihad Ahli in Syria, they just have to wait and see how those teams perform in this Group Stage.
At the end of the Group Stage, the first-place teams in each group will advance directly to the Semi-Finals. The second- and third-place teams will crossover to play in the Qualification to Semi-Finals match-ups. This means that teams from each group will be crossing over to play each other at some point, so keep an eye out on how these situations pan out as the season goes.
5. First step
As exciting it will be to watch the players, the games, and the entire competition, it gets even more exhilarating once you take a step back and look at the grand scheme of everything.
All of the teams in WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf are already among the best in their countries. They are all competing here to figure out who the best teams are in each region.
From there, they (the three best teams from each league) will proceed to an even bigger platform at the WASL Final 8.
The two best teams from there (WASL Final 8) will make their way to compete for the title as best club in Asia at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
Eventually, the champions of the Asia Champions Cup will make it to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, FIBA’s highest club competition.
It’s a long and winding road, but that only means that it will only mean that much more if or when any of these team makes it to that grand stage - especially if they end up winning it all.
And looking back at everything, WASL will be where their journey begins.