Listen to the article

The two Asian giants, Riyadi and Strong Group (Philippines), faced off on Sunday in the final of the 33rd Dubai Basketball Championship. Undefeated up to that point, both teams had the same objective in sight: victory and consecration in the final.

The match between the solid Riyadi team, with all its strength and experience, and the Strong Group sharpshooters promised to be a great spectacle. The duel at the summit lived up to all its promises, and with many twists and turns. Victory was a long time coming for the Riyadi club, who snatched their victory (77-74) at the buzzer!

After leading Strong Group by 19 points in the second half, the Lebanese were caught out. Then Riyadi’s most experienced player, Ismail “Somaa” Ahmad, took matters into his own hands to win the Dubai Basketball Championship.

The Match Film

After an intense opening ceremony during which many Lebanese fans sang the national anthem, the long-awaited final kicked off. Strong Group started the quarter by concentrating on Dwight Howard, as they did in all their games, in order to dominate the zone. Strong managed to score seven points from inside in the space of a few minutes.

However, Riyadi found the resources to slow their opponent’s progress and take a significant lead, thanks to team spirit and composure. The quarter ended 22-12.

Riyadi started the second quarter on a positive note, dexterously maintaining their lead. Halfway through the quarter, Riyadi still held a 10-point lead. However, Strong Group continued to get the better of Riyadi in their own zone, grabbing numerous crucial offensive rebounds. The Lebanese team didn’t give up and kept their grip on the game (46-32 at the 20th).

After the break, the Riyadi players continued their domination, extending their lead to 19 points.

Guilty Laxity

Riyadi then inexplicably lost concentration. The Strong Group seized the opportunity to regain control of the match. With only a few minutes remaining in the quarter, the Filipino team managed to close the gap and stay in the game. After losing defensive rebounds and conceding unnecessary turnovers, Riyadi’s lead began to dwindle.

At the start of the last quarter, Riyadi conceded two successive three-point shots and trailed by four points. The game was tighter than ever at that very moment, midway through the fourth quarter. As Dwight Howard came back into the game, things got tougher for Riyadi. With just a few minutes remaining, the score was 67-67. Amir Saoud then scored a crucial three-pointer to give Riyadi a slight lead.

With 30 seconds left, Strong Group had the chance to win the game but fortunately missed the three-point line. Riyadi had just 7 seconds left and the score was 74-74. Wael Arakji (MVP of the game) picked his way through the Strong Group defense and passed back to Ismail Ahmad, who scored a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Riyadi the final victory.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Newsletter signup

Please wait...

Thank you for sign up!