Gorgan finish off ZobAhan, to meet Al Riyadi in West Asia Final
TEHRAN (Iran) - Gorgan concluded the latest chapter of a budding rivalry with ZobAhan in their favor, 86-81, to complete the WASL-West Asia Final picture, Thursday night at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran.
Behnam Yakhchali nailed a booming trey to make it a 78-69 lead with 3:59 left to play, before Perry Petty and Mohammad Jamshidi applied the final touches that left their foes a frustrated bunch after leading by a decade early.
ZobAhan actually wasted Gorgan's solid start through a a 21-3 response to end the first in their favor, 23-13, but the latter gave them a dose of their own medicine by rallying back, eventually kissing their West Asia title hopes goodbye.
Bound for the highly-anticipated WASL Final 8 in June as well, Gorgan will meet Lebanese powerhouse Al Riyadi in the best-of-3 Final beginning on May 11.
ZobAhan, meanwhile, will face Beirut Club in the Third-Place Game on May 10. Winner will join the aforementioned finalists to the Final 8.
Game heroes: Jamshidi paced Gorgan with 24 points on 52-percent shooting from the field, together with 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Petty had 19 points. Antanas Udras flirted with a double-double with 12 points and 8 rebounds while Yakhchali, despite being far from his usual scoring ways agoing just 3-for-11 from the floor, still chimed in 10 markers and 10 boards.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Jamshidi deservingly earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors as he received 41-percent of the fan votes.
Turning point: Match was tied approaching the last two minutes of the third canto until Perry sparked an 8-2 run for a 67-61 lead with only 32 seconds on the clock, and Gorgan would remain in the driver's seat the rest of the way.
That same stretch saw ZobAhan lose key big man Arman Zangeneh as he was ejected from the game for incurring his second technical foul, leaving a huge hole to their frontline that Gorgan took full advantage of.
They said: "It's a big history for Gorgan. It's the first time for this club to be in this situation. It's the result of the great club that we have. And, the great, great, great fans that we have that support us. I'm very happy for all of them." - Mehran Hatami, Head Coach, Gorgan
"It's not yet finished for us. We need two more wins to get the championship, We're not satisfied with this achievement. We will do our best to get that championship." - Mohammad Jamshidi, Gorgan
"I think my players missed concentration in the game. We missed Arman due to a technical foul, and Arsalan still has pain in his knee. And, Mesicek is a new player for us, he doesn't have enough coordination with the team. He needs more time. [Unlike] The Gorgan team, they all started from the beginning," - Farzad Kouhian, Head Coach, ZobAhan
"It was a really tough game. They deserve the win. They were better in these two games. But the season is not over for us. We still have the game for the THird Place and we need to prepare for that game." - Blaz Mesicek, ZobAhan