19 December, 2022
25 May, 2023
5 Freddy Ibrahim (ORX)
to read

Road to Semis SWOT Preview: Four teams eye sweep, but foes out to stay alive

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Four teams have the opportunity to get the job done and formalize their entry into the West Asia Super League (WASL) Semi-Finals.

Qualification to Semi-Finals action will continue this week, with Gulf teams Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai and Kazma plus Gorgan and Al Riyadi of West Asia looking to finish off their opponents in Game 2 of their respective series.

After stealing one on the road in Game 1, Kazma now have the home-court edge against Al Manama at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex.

The three other teams, though, won't be enjoying that same advantage as they will try to accomplish their missions on enemy territory.

Shabab Al Ahli, for one, will look to end Al Nasr Riyadh's season at the latter's stomping grounds at the Green Basketball Court on Tuesday night.

ZobAhan are also in a similar situation as they will fly to Baghdad to face Al Naft once more on Wednesday night at the Al Shaeb Hall.

Same goes with Al Riyadi, who will be heading to Jordan to lock horns with Orthodox Amman at the Prince Hamza Sport Hall on Thursday.

3 April 2023

KZM Kazma vs MNM Al Manama
22:00 (GMT+3)
Kuwait City
Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex

4 April 2023

NSR Al Nasr Riyadh vs SAH Shabab Al Ahli - Dubai
22:00 (GMT+3)
Green Basketball Court

5 April 2023

NAF Al Naft vs ZOB ZobAhan
22:00 (GMT+3)
Al Shaeb Hall

6 April 2023

ORX Orthodox Amman vs RIY Al Riyadi
22:00 (GMT+3)
Prince Hamzah Sport Hall

STRENGTHS: Al Riyadi added more firepower to their arsenal by signing up Kevin Murphy and look no further than Game 1 to see how he's impacted the team.


Barely two weeks with the club, the former Kazma standout unloaded 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals as he helped out in the third-quarter barrage towards the 102-83 win over Orthodox Amman.

That game also saw the well-traveled cager mesh well with the Lebanese side's other big guns and surely, focus will be on him come Game 2, where they could take care of business and forge a duel with Beirut Club in the semis.

WEAKNESSES: A big question mark heading into Wednesday night is the morale within Al Naft especially after that collapse in Game 1.

It could be remembered that the Iraqi crew squandered a big 21-point lead and lost to ZobAhan in overtime, 102-109, wasting the efforts of Edgar Sosa, Antwaine Wiggins, and Karrar Hamzah as the trio combined for 84 points.


But the real concern for Al Naft heading into Game 2 is that they're now in the midst of a harrowing four-game slide -- the longest active losing skid in WASL.

OPPORTUNITIES: Game 2 will not just be a chance for Kazma to close the series out, but a shot as well to continue what has been a magical run for a ball club that won just once in their first four games of the season.

A victory will propel the Kuwaiti team into the semis, where Al Hilal, an opponent so familiar with them since they were both pooled in Group A, are waiting.

THREATS: It definitely won't be any easy for Al Nasr in trying to live another day now that Shabab Al Ahli have regained their groove.


Looking back, the Emirati unit ended the Group Phase with back-to-back losses, but showed that it's all in the past now by taking Game 1, 100-90, last Tuesday, led by the solid frontcourt combo of Nick Minnerath and Qais Omar Alshabebi.