Gorgan punch last direct ticket to Semi-Finals at Al Naft's expense
BAGHDAD (Iraq) - Shahrdari Gorgan clinched the remaining direct ticket to the Semi-Finals of the WASL-West Asia League Final Phase following a 101-91 victory over Al Naft on the road, Thursday night at the Al Shaeb Hall in Baghdad.
The Iranian side pulled away in the third canto on the way to clinching the top seed in Group B, allowing the crew to join Group A's no. 1 team Beirut Club as the teams who earned an outright berth to the aforementioned phase.
Gorgan finished the Group Phase with a 3-1 record, with Al Riyadi and Al Naft wounding up as the no. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively.
Game heroes: All five starters finished in double figures, with Behnam Yakhchali bannering the pack with 29 points on 6 treys, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Mohammad Jamshidi fired 25 points and also had 7 dimes. Antanas Udras provided 17 points and 9 boards, Sajjad Pazrofteh came through with a double-double of 16 points and 10 caroms, while Perry Petty chimed in 10 and 8.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Yakhchali was named STEP AHEAD Player of the Game by the fans as he received 29-percent in the online voting.
Turning point: Gorgan were clinging to a one-point lead early in the third canto until Jamshidi sparked a fiery 15-2 run for a 65-53 lead approaching the midway mark of the said period, and they would never let up from that point on.
Stats don't lie: Gorgan shot 50-percent from the field thanks to their 22 assists as a team in the win that saw them lead by as many as 17 points.
They said: "First of all, I want to say congratulations to the Iraqi club, Al Naft. They did great, especially in the first half. I think in the second half, especially in the third quarter, we did better on defense and finally, we caught the game." - Mehran Hatami, Head Coach, Gorgan
"I think it was a good game for us. We just followed our game plan defensively and offensively, and we got the win. Congrats to our team. Now, we have time to get rest, and get prepared for the next round." - Behnam Yakhchali, Gorgan