By Sports Reporter/Doha
El Jaish won the Emir Cup for the second year in succession after posting a 72-63 win over Al Gharafa in the final here yesterday.
It was anybody’s game for almost 30 minutes of the match but El Jaish stepped up their efforts in the third and fourth quarters to retain the trophy and win a whopping million riyals as prize money.
Both teams gave their all in a bid to close out the season in style after Al Rayyan walked away with the league and Qatar Cup titles.
However, Al Rayyan’s bid for a clean sweep of the season fell flat when they were upended 2-0 by El Jaish in their best-of-three semis.
Yesterday, El Jaish proved their win over Al Rayyan was no fluke and they were deserving title-winners after extending their supremacy over Al Gharafa, who were looking for their fourth Emir Cup title.
“It was not an easy game but we were determined not to let the trophy slip away from our hands,” said El Jaish coach Hatem Mamlouk.
“We were disappointed after losing out in the Qatar Basketball League and the Qatar Cup but winning the prestigious Emir Cup is as good as it gets,” he added.
The turning point of the match came in the final five minutes of the third period when El Jaish hit a purple patch and worked their way to a 60-49 lead that left Al Gharafa with a mountain to climb in the last quarter.
With five minutes remaining in the match, Al Gharafa managed 11 points against El Jaish’s 10 but that proved too little too late in the end.
El Jaish’s victory charge was led by Leon Macklin who scored 18 points, but it was Adamu Saaka who provided them with some vital bursts of energy and momentum when they needed it the most.
Saaka scored 15 points with a trio of three-pointers while Turki Ali chipped in with 12 and Fadi Abilmona contributed 11.
El Jaish were also served well by their bench with the substitutes producing 10 points, with Al Gharafa managing only three in that department.
Al Gharafa’s Osaro Adako, however, was the highest scorer in the match with 22 points, while Dwayne Galloway had 19. None of the other Gharafa players managed double figures.
“We tried hard but El Jaish proved the better team on the day,” said Al Gharafa coach Koussay Hatem. “ I congratulate both teams for their fine performances,” he added.
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