Game 3 it is as Al Naft withstand ZobAhan rally to save campaign
BAGHDAD (Iraq) - Al Naft showed that they also have the ability to close out games as they thwarted ZobAhan, 90-82, to send their WASL-West Asia Qualification to Semi-Finals series to the limit, Wednesday night at the Al Shaeb Hall in Baghdad.
Edgar Sosa led the way with 32 points, scoring his team's last 10 points -- all form the foul line -- that included six straight for an 88-80 lead with 18 seconds left to put it away after allowing their foes to get within two from as much as 30 down.
Not only did the win save their campaign, it also ended a harrowing four-game losing skid that dated back to the Group Phase.
Series now shifts back to Iran for the do-or-die Game 3 next Wednesday, with the winner set to meet Iranian side Shahrdari Gorgan in the best-of-3 semis.
Game heroes: It wasn't just Sosa who made the victory possible as top forward Antwaine Wiggins unloaded 29 points on 4 treys and 6 rebounds.
All-around guard Karrar Hamzah was solid once again as he came through with 16 markers, 6 boards, 2 assists, and a game-high 5 steals as they all proved how much they've learned from that 21-point collapse in Game 1 last week.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Wiggins earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors after garnering 42-percent of the fan votes.
Turning point: Al Naft limited the visitors to just 3 measly points in the second quarter -- easily the fewest points scored by any ball club in a quarter in the ongoing Final Phase -- to establish a commanding 43-21 lead at the half.
They said: "I think today, it was a good game for us. We lost a bit of concentration in the second half. We were up by 22 points, and they brought it back to four. Same thing that happened in Tehran, we were winning by 21 points, they came back and won. We're playing good, but when we're up 15, 20 points, we must stay smart, continue to do what Coach tells us and finish the game." - Edgar Sosa, Al Naft
"We knew it was going to be a tough game for us here. We lost the game in the second quarter. We played terrible in that quarter. We tried in the second half, but we couldn't get back in the game ... life goes on. We'll go back to Tehran, and we'll see them in Tehran." - Arman Zangeneh, ZobAhan