Al Shamal defeat Al Gharafa to retain QBF League crown
Al Shamal’s forward Michael Efevberha racked up 30 points and 10 rebounds as the defending champions retained their Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) Men’s League title with a thumping 81-70 defeat of Al Gharafa Club in the final match played at the Indoor Hall of Al Gharafa Club yesterday.
The highly entertaining encounter saw the two teams exchanging the lead nine times and were tied on seven occasions before the tide turned completely in favor of Al Shamal starting from the last 10 minutes of the third quarter.
The coach Hassan Hachad lads bagged a whopping 32 points within the period while 2014 champions Al Gharafa could only come up with 20 as Al Shamal won the title for the second time in their six-year history.
The first three quarters had ended 20-16, 35-32 and 50-49 respectively in favor of Al Gharafa but Al Shamal stepped up their game when it mattered most with center Emir Mujic triggering the revival.
Mujic was fouled in the closing minutes of the third quarter soon after forward Sammy Monroe had dunked the ball to put Al Gharafa four points clear. Although Mujic could only net one of the two free throws, however, the point was the catalyst the champions needed as they soon raced to 15 points (68-53) lead against their opponent. From thereon, there was no looking back as they massively shore up their defense while the remaining task was completed upfront.
“This is an important win for us today and I’m happy that we were able to retain our title. We came up against a very strong opponent and it was indeed a tough match. My boys gave their all on the court and they played according to instructions. I’m happy with their performance and I hope we will be able to repeat the feat next season,’ Al Shamal’s coach Hassan Hachad said after the match.
In addition to Efevberha’s heroics, Mujic (19 points and 11 rebounds) and Centre Michael Harris (11 points and 17 rebounds) were the two players with a double-double on the champions’ side. Wael Arkaji also notched 17 points and 5 rebounds.
“The final match was a fitting end to this season’s league which has been very exciting. All the teams performed very well during the season and it made it more competitive. I congratulate Al Shamal for winning for the second time in a row and I wish them the very best in the future,” QBF President Ahmed al Muftah, who was the chief guest at the closing ceremony, said.
Al Shamal captain Omar Abdelkader Salem said, “Tonight is one of the happiest moment of my life. We won the league again and retained our title. I’m proud of the team and what we’ve been able to achieve. We played against a worthy opponent and Al Gharafa gave us a good fight but it wasn’t just their night.”
For Al Gharafa, Ali Haidar scored 20 points, while Mohamed Yusuf chipped in with 15, while Abdulrahman Saad contributed 14. Al Shamal scored 18-second chance points against Al Gharafa’s nine.
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