Fear The Beast ! Why Everybody Is Avoiding Riyadi?
23 Feb. 2017 – With Sagesse and Homenetmen fighting for the 3rd spot today, we take a look why both teams would love to avoid Riyadi in the semis.
Mentally, Riyadi are on another level. They have defeated Homenetmen by 7 in round 8 of LBL and by 14, 5 days ago. As for Sagesse, they haven’t come even close to the level Riyadi are at right now. Going as an underdog into a fight might push you to thrive and overcome this big hurdle. As it is, this David vs Goliath matchup between Riyadi and Homenetmen/Sagesse doesn’t seem to have any upset.
Add to that, the factor that Riyadi have an extra day of rest before the semis as they can watch Homenetmen and Sagesse battle each other while they soak in the glory of notching first place. Furthermore, Riyadi had sealed their leader spot even before playing Mighty Sports yesterday and so were able to give their bench players some very valuable time on the floor. With back to back games, stamina and energy are at their lowest. Good luck running after Wael, Ken and Amir.
Talking about bench players, Riyadi have made the best out of theirs. Amir Saoud has been the highlight of this team. Taking his game to a whole other level. Putting pressure on Branko’s starting spot. Just imagine Branko coming in next to Ismael Ahmad. You’d better build your lead as soon as possible. Don’t be scared, but they can tilt any game when they introduce Jean Abdel Nour, one of the best Lebanese players of his generation. Sagesse have the smallest rotation between these three. Having Godfrey who has hurt the team rather than helped it and leaving Sabah in Lebanon (for unknown reasons) has only limited coach Fouad’s rotation to 7 players. As for Homenetmen, it seems they brought the wrong guy in Mike Taylor. Yes, he is a phenomenal PG, a great scorer and one hell of a dribbler but no, ladies and gents, he is not the guy to lead Homenetmen. Why would you disrupt a team that has been leading the lead since day 1? The trio of Galloway, Khatib and Jackson has been rocking every team they face. With Mike now asking for the ball on many occasions, the flow of the game has changed. With the guard position stacked, Homenetmen should have gone for a big guy next to Majok as coach Joe can only rely on Hawi as a backup center and clearly isn’t high on Hayg.
Last but not least, Riyadi have an advantage on both their Lebanese rivals with the great defense they implement every game. While Homenetmen play this run and gun offense, they haven’t found the key to unlock the yellows’ defense. Their offense mainly relies on pushing the ball as fast as possible, taking outside shots and isolating Fadi so that he can take his defender one on one. Riyadi have a transition defense like no other, players who run the floor greatly and switch on many occasions as matchups often go their way. While Hoho depend greatly on Fadi to stack up the numbers, Riyadi have the cure to limit his contribution, none other than Captain Jean. One of the most efficient lock down defenders the Lebanese game has ever seen, Jean has proven able to guard Fadi and minimize his role in this shambolic Homenetmen offense. This offense that has been lacking set plays and consistency in this year’s Dubai Tournament, has gotten even more disturbed with the addition of Taylor.
With now 3 Lebanese teams in the semis, and definitely one in the finals, we wish the best to our players abroad.