25 May, 2024
01 June
9 Ahmad Ibrahim (SAG)
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Sagesse give Astana the boot, advance to Final 8 Semis

DOHA (Qatar) - Sagesse SC are marching on to the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) Final 8 Semi-Finals by eliminating BC Astana 103-89, Wednesday night at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall.

Their loss to rivals Al Riyadi the last time out totally behind them, the crew exploded in the third quarter and left their foes overwhelmed all the way, with the latter eventually witnessing their dreams of returning to the  podium like what they did in the inaugural meet in Dubai end.


The Central Asia champions placed third in the previous Final 8 by beating the Yellow Castle, but there won't be any encore whatsoever this time following the harsh beatdown they received at the hands of another Lebanese club.

By winning the virtual knockout, Sagesse clinched the no. 2 seed in Group A, which sets them up for a duel against Kuwait Club, Group B's top team, in the Semis on Friday.


Game heroes: Jonathan Gibson led the way with 29 points on 7 triples, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals, deservingly earning the STEP AHEAD Player of the Game citation.

Cleanthony Early came through with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds, laced with a pair of blocks. Ahmad Ibrahim scored 23 as well alongside 7 rebounds.

Karim Ezzedine, whose ejection late in the third quarter of their game against Al Riyadi affected his team a great deal, supplied 12 points and 7 rebounds in the conquest.

Turning point: Sagesse were clinging to a four-point lead early in the third until Early and Ibrahim connected on a lay-up, which would ignite a wild 22-2 attack toward a commanding 72-50 advantage with 3:16 to go in the frame as the opposition suddenly went cold on offense.

A little bit later and the ever-supportive fans would turn the game into a celebration of sorts as their team cruised their way into the Final Phase, leaving Astana a frustrated and spent bunch after coming off a triple overtime win against just Manama two nights ago.

Stats don't lie: Sagesse shot 16-of-32 from beyond the arc, which is now the most and the highest percentage in a game in this Final 8. Overall they shot nearly 54-percent in the victory that saw the squad dish out a total of 20 assists. sixth-most in this tournament.

They said: "It was a great game from our side. We knew it. We spoke to the guys that yes, it's a group stage game, but we took it as a Quarter-Final knockout game. We know if we win we're gonna go to the Semis; if we lose, tomorrow we go home. We gave it our best. Thank God we don't have any injury. We played very well, we shared the ball. We had one problem, which was turnovers with 22, especially in the last quarter. We lost a bit of focus. No problem, now we are in the Semis. The most important thing is to keep going, to get one more win and we play the Final." - Jad El Hajj, Head Coach, Sagesse

"We played hard. We could've finished a little bit better but we got the job done, That's all that matters. We're moving on to the Semi-Final." - Cleanthony Early, Sagesse SC

"Last game we played three overtimes, that didn't allow us to be as fresh as we wanted to be, and we had to play against a team that plays uptempo ... But I want to say that I'm very, very proud of my players that they gave their all. We never gave up. We always tried to be there. The guys put their hearts on the floor and that makes me proud as their coach. They allowed me to fight with them in this tournament." - Fotis Takianos, Head Coach, BC Astana