Ngombo powers Rayyan to win
DOHA AL RAYYAN Club star Targuy Ngombo returned to lift his team to a vital 87-79 victory against Al Gharafa Club in their first face-off at the Emir Cup Basketball best-offive semi-finals, on Tuesday.
Ngombo missed two games in the elimination round due to an injury but recovered just on time to contribute a match-best 17.
Erfan Saeed added 15 points while big guy De Von Hardin scored 13 points. The Best Player of the game Malik Abdulla finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Another bright note of the match was Rayyan’s 46 out of 87 points through the bench strength, which put the team in control after the half-time. Saeed was the best bench player to perform, grabbing seven rebounds besides netting 15 points. Gharafa could get only 19 from their players outside the starting five.
Gharafa was up by 1 point by the end of first quarter (24-23).
Omar Salem led the way for Gharafa in the period and scored 9 points, including back-to-back 3 point shots. For Rayyan, it was the joint effort of Yaseen Musa and Ngombo that prevented their opponent from creating a big gap. The Rayyan star players made 8 points and 6 points, respectively.
It was a see-saw battle come the second quarter which ended still in favour of Gharafa (39-38). Rayyan, known for performing better from the painted area, started to buildup their play at this point. Ngombo and Musa continued their aggressiveness on the court but Salem, with the help of Boney Watson, spearheaded the Gharafa’s challenge.
Rayyan suddenly exploded in the third quarter and led as much as 12 points. Erfan, fresh from the bench, netted 10 points to push Rayyan to 63 points to Gharafa’s 51 in this session. Gharafa continued to lose steam in the dying moments of the play and Rayyan was able to widen its advantage to 20 points at some juncture in the fourth quarter, before sealing the fine 87-79 victory.
Sadd stuns Arabi Al Sadd created an upset, beating in-form and Heir Apparent winner Al Arabi in a gripping match by 72- 65. It was the first time Arabi tasted defeat in the tournament after keeping its slate clean during the league phase.
Man of the match Khalid Suliman of Sadd scored 14 points.
Arabi started strongly in the first quarter to lead by 9 points (22-13) and the writing on the wall for Sadd loomed large. All the starting players of Arabi gave modest contributions for their early lead.
But Sadd made adjustments in their play in the second quarter and caught up with Arabi to tie the game at 24. The Zoran Kreckovictutored team even pulled away by 7 points and it was the turn of Arabi to feel the heat. It managed to cut down the margin to 3 points with few minutes time left.
Sadd’s big and gangling guy Michael Benjamin, with already 8 points and 7 rebounds before the half-time break, sparked the rally for the team. The score was 37-31 in favour of Sadd at the end of second quarter.
Sadd held on to its lead until the third quarter. Suliman and Daoud Mousa were exception for Sadd in this quarter, while Arabi’s reliance on Jalloh Abdullah and Alvin Mofunanya could not produce the desired results. Sadd still dominated the period and got ahead narrowly by 55-52.
Arabi sought to push the opponents the final quarter. With four minutes left in the clock, Sadd was ahead by just one point. The scores tied before before the game entered the final 2-minute danger zone. Mousa held nerves to net crucial shots that placed Sadd five points clear with less than a minute left. Arabi made some frantic but futile attempts and had to suffer the loss.
THURSDAY’S FIXTURES Al Arabi vs Al Sadd (5.15 pm) Al Gharafa vs Al Rayyan (7.15 pm) BEST PLAYER Abdulla Malik of Al Rayyan Khalid Suliman of Al Sadd