By Sports Reporter/Doha
Defending champions Al Rayyan registered a convincing victory (78-70) over El Jaish in the second semifinal playoff of Qatar Basketball League (QBL) at the Al Gharafa Club Indoor Hall yesterday.
The 15-time winners Rayyan will take on former champion Al Sadd, who defeated Al Gharafa 67-64 in the second playoff, in the final.
In the first 12 minutes of the game, both Rayyan and Jaish went up four times each and were locked on five occasions.
Then after Rayyan’s veteran small forward Tanguy Ngombo sank a three-pointer and El Jaish were within a point of drawing level thrice.
With 5:31s left in the second quarter, forward Lawrence Hill pulled off a try to place Rayyan four points clear (39-35), which the holders extended to eight points before settling for a six-point lead (48-42) at the interval.
El Jaish kept resisting and in the third quarter, Vernon Leon Macklin, Ali Turki Ali and point guard Mansour Elhadary again brought the armymen one point away from the rivals (54-55).
Babcar Ngom fouled on Rayyan’s point guard James Dominic Davon with 3:25s left. Davon could not use the three throws but it fired up Yaseen Ismail Musa, who collected a basket. Thereafter, El Jaish kept chasing the Rayyan, who progressed solidly to record an eight-point victory to book a place in the finals.
James Dominic Davon scored a match-high 26 for Al Rayyan, while Ngombo struck 16. Hill came up with a superb double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds and Musa got 12.
Elhadary was the highest scorer for El Jaish with 21 points. Ali Turki followed him with 18, while Macklin posted 14 points and 10 rebounds.
In the second match of the day, Sadd overcame a stiff challenge from Gharafa as Anthony Raffa scored 17 points, while Suliman Abid and Deba Kone scored 15 and 13, respectively for the winners.
For Gharafa, Kevin Galloway scored the match-high 28 points. Emmanuel also chipped in with 13 points.
The best of three final will be played from February 27.
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