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Tiebreaker Times


Wael Arakji leads Al Riyadi to historic BCL Asia crown

Al Riyadi claimed the Basketball Champions League Asia (BCL Asia) 2024 title following a masterful 122-96 conquest of Shabab Al Ahli in the Final, Saturday night at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in Dubai.

Wael Arakji showed the way with a personal tournament-high 31 points and nine assists as the Lebanese powerhouse emerged as the first winners of the tournament formerly known as the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

Al Riyadi has long etched its name in Champions Cup lore, having reigned supreme in the contest in 2011 in Pasig and then in Thailand six years later.

Now, they have become the inaugural BCL Asia winners, completing a dominant run that witnessed the FIBA West Asia Super League champions run roughshod over the competition and go 5-0 en route to bagging home the trophy.

Arakji wrote himself in the tilt’s history books, too, as he earned Most Valuable Player honors following a scintillating showing in the City of Gold, posting per-game averages of 20.8 points, 8.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds.

The 2022 FIBA Asia Cup MVP bannered the Tournament Top Five, which also featured his teammate Thon Maker, the Shabab Al Ahli duo of Marcus Georges-Hunt and Travin Thibodeaux, and Shahrdary Gorgan’s Sina Vahedi.

Maker made his presence felt in the Final as well, coming through with 26 point, 13 rebounds, and two blocks to help lead the balanced attack.

A total of six players finished in double figures for the Yellow Castle, with former Meralco import Zach Lofton delivering 15 points — all of which he made from deep. Bosnian big man Elmedin Kikanovic made 14 and seven rebounds.

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Amir Saoud fired four triples for 13 points and five assists, while Karim Zeinoun added 12 markers and eight rebounds in the victory.

By winning the meet, Al Riyadi will represent Asia in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2024, FIBA’s highest club competition, later this year.

Sir’Dom Pointer, on the other hand, recorded 25 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists to lead Shabab Al Ahli in the runner-up finish.

Meanwhile, Hiroshima claimed the bronze medal in their first appearance in a FIBA club competition following an 81-76 win over Gorgan.

Takuto Nakamura put on a clutch performance, scoring the Dragonflies’ last 10 points to send the reigning Iranian champions home without a medal. Nakamura went on to finish with 14 points on a 6-of-9 clip from the field.

Kerry Blackshear top-scored for the 2024 B.League champions with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Dwayne Evans tallied a 16-9-7 stat line.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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