19 December, 2022
25 May, 2023
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WASL Heat Index: Asia Cup and Afrobasket stars heat up for their clubs in Week 7

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - After the lengthy break that gave way to the national teams to compete in the International Window for men’s basketball, WASL returned to action in both the Gulf and West Asia.

And you could immediately feel that the players were hungry to show off their games with their clubs once again, whether it was to vent some frustration from recent losses or put their progress on display.

Now, we take the opportunity to update the weekly WASL Heat Index, highlighting the talents who stood out among their peers over the past week.

Mohammed Alsuwailem - HIL


For most of the time in sports, it’s usually an exaggeration when someone asks “who can stop [this player]?”. When that question is asked about Mohammed Alsuwailem in WASL Gulf, it feels a bit more genuine.

At least we can be certain that Al Bashaer can’t stop him, as the recently turned 25-years-old big man (Happy belated birthday on March 3!) went a perfect 6-6 from the field to score 12 points while also grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing 6 assists.

So far this season, he’s averaging 16.8 points, 15.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 79.5 percent and making all of his three three-point attempts.

Someone bring out the fire extinguisher because Alsuwailem continues to be scorching hot in WASL Gulf.

Salah Mejri - KZM


It’s a shame that Al Hilal and Kazma have already played both of their Group Phase games, which means there isn’t a guarantee that they will face each other this season. Maybe they cross paths in the Final Phase, maybe they don’t.

In any case, it’s a shame because their new addition, Tunisian star and three-time AfroBasket champion Salah Mejri, would be a player that can stop Mohammed Alsuwailem. That’s what Mejri put on display in his WASL debut as he scored 19 points on 6-10 shooting with 2 three-pointers while also recording 17 rebounds, 3 steals, and a WASL-record 6 blocks.

In terms of defensive impact, we could even give Mejri five locks (🔒🔒🔒🔒🔒) in our spontaneous Lockdown Index as well. 

However, as for Heat Index, we’ve knocked Mejri down to only four fire emojis for this weekly update, however, because we know that he is capable of doing more - which is what fans should expect to see from the Kazma star.

Shane Rector - KZM


It wasn’t a Salah Mejri one-man show for Kazma as they handed Shabab Al Ahli - Dubai their first WASL loss. The entire team was enjoying a fresh look to boost that “Kazma spirit” which came from adding Mejri as well as Shane Rector.

Rector, in particular, was a bundle of energy all over the place in his debut where he put up 29 points and 7 rebounds in the victory.

Even though his introduction to WASL saw some flaws (4 turnovers), it was hard to take your eyes off Rector as he dazzled with move after move. With big men Mejri and Latavious Williams anchoring the post, Rector is free to bring the heat from the outside as Kazma aims to make a deep run in the Final Phase of WASL Gulf.

Wael Arakji - RIY


Wael Arakji received a warm welcome at Saeb Salam when he returned to the court for Al Riyadi against Al Naft.

After overcoming some early scares from the visiting Iraqi team, Arakji took over and led the charge to help his team get the revenge they were aiming for and the win. Arakji had to shake off some rush as he shot just under 50 percent and committed 4 turnovers, but the Lebanese fans were certainly hyped to see the Asia Cup 2022 MVP slice and dice his way through the defense in this game.

Edgar Sosa - NAF


If we did a Heat Index for performances during specific periods of the game and not the entire game, Edgar Sosa might have scored 6 fire emojis for a first-half display against Al Riyadi. With 29 first-half points, It seemed as if he had picked up right off from where he had left his previous game against the Lebanese squad where he scored 35 points. Al Naft were in the lead as well heading into the halftime locker room, so it seemed as if everything was going well.

Sosa continued to score in the second half, ending the game with a WASL record of 46 points, which is what makes him worthy of a Heat Index mention. However, some of those flaming emojis had to be put out as he finished with 10 turnovers and the loss.

Karim Zeinoun - RIY


Zeinoun didn’t light up the scoreboard - scoring 9 points is decent, but exactly the Heat Index norm. Instead, he brought the heat to the game on the defensive end as he was subbed in by coach Ahmad Farran.

If Salah Mejri received five locks (🔒🔒🔒🔒🔒) in our spontaneous Lockdown Index, Zeinoun should be getting as much (or even more) to his name this week.

The young guard was a key part of the game plan in locking down the aforementioned Sosa, in which even if they gave up a few more points, Riyadi made sure they would come off difficult shots and some possesions would end up in turnovers. When those turnovers were committed, Riyadi quickly pounced in transition to finish with easy layups or wide open three-pointers. That how Zeinoun operated in this game, applying the pressure on defense and leaking out in transition for his point.

There’s no denying that Zeinoun’s play shifted the momentum Riyadi’s way and the crowds agreed by chanting his name in recognition.