Al Rayyan got a big lift from new recruit Jerome Davidson in the third period as they beat Al Arabi, 79-60, last night to grab top honors in Group 2 and forge a head-to-head battle with Al Gharafa in the semi-final round of the Heir Apparent Cup basketball.
Al Rayyan were riding high on an 83-70 thrashing of Qatar Sports Club before this game and kept their streak to four wins at the expense of the defending champions. Davidson, Rayyan’s lanky centre, carried the scoring chores early in the third period, burying 10 points out of his team’s 12 that brought them to a 47-45 cushion.
Tangi Ngombo then took over and combined with No 24 for a 14-7 juggernaut in the remainder of the period thrusting Al Rayyan’s break-away with a 61-52 bulge going into the final period.
Coach Brian Rowsom’s wards thrashed their counterparts on both ends up in the fourth and ran away with the lopsided win.
Jalloh Abdullai led Al Arabi to a 10-4 advantage five minutes into the game but Al Rayyan’s Harold Boney Watson found his mark thereon to propel his team to a 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Wingman Suleiman Braimoh drilled one from the rainbow arc to open the second period and pad Rayyan’s lead to 22-16 but Mansour Elhadary strung up 5 consecutive markers to help Arabi wrest the upperhand, 23-22.
The white shirts prevailed in the ensuing blazing exchange of baskets, and hanged-on to the driver’s seat by the end of the first half, 35-32.
Al Rayyan face Al Gharafa, second placer in Group 1, while Group 1 front-runners El Jaish, meet Al Arabi in the pair of best-of-five semi-final showdowns where the winners face-off in the sudden-death battle for the crown set on March 15.
Meanwhile, Al Shamal edged Wakrah in the first game, 84-81.