The Final 8 of the 2023 West Asia Super League (WASL) basketball tournament, which kicked off in Dubai on Friday June 9 with the group phase, continued on Friday June 16 with the two semi-finals pitting Lebanese club Riyadi (1st in Group A) against Kuwait (2nd in Group B), on the one hand, and Kazakh club Astana (1st in Group B) against Bahraini club Manama (2nd in Group A), on the other.

In the first semi-final, played on Friday afternoon, Manama defeated Astana (91-81) to qualify for the final, to be played on Saturday June 17, as well as the 3rd place match. In the evening, in the second semi-final, Kuwait won its match against Riyadi (95-85). The first quarter ended in Kuwait’s favor (33-18), as did the second (24-16), while Riyadi won the third period by a tiny point (21-20), also taking the fourth and final quarter (30-18). After falling behind by 24 points in the third quarter, Riyadi pulled off a dazzling comeback in the final period, cutting the deficit to seven points (83-90), but not enough to win the game. Kuwait outscored him again by ten points in the end.

This competition, organized and supervised by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), brings together the top three teams in the West Asian WASL league, the top three teams in the Gulf WASL league, plus the top two teams from South Asia and Central Asia. Eight teams in all. The teams qualified for this year’s Final 8 were: al-Riyadi and Beirut Club (Lebanon), Shabab al-Ahli (Dubai), al-Manama (Bahrain), BC Astana (Kazakhstan), Chennai Heats (India), Kuwait Club (Kuwait), Shahrdary Gorgan (Iran). The eight teams are divided into two groups of four teams each. However, in a major incongruity this year, the eight-team final round was contested by… seven! Chennai Heats were absent for undetermined reasons.

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