Lebanese Basketball championship 2014: Where do all teams stand?
Round 9 ends, and so the 1st leg of the Lebanese Basketball championship.
After 9 rounds, Riyadi stands on top the league with only 1 single loss against Amshit and 8 wins. Indeed, the yellow team delivered a solid and stable performance, overcoming its main rivals, most importantly Sagesse, in what is considered the biggest derby in Lebanon. Riyadi was able to rely on its experienced players Ismael Ahmad, Loren Woods, Jean Abdelnour.. mixed with the talent of young players like Ahmad Ibrahim, Ali Haidar… guided by coach Subotic, and looks set to contend strongly for the championship.
In second place comes Sagesse, who lost twice and won 7 times. The two losses came against Riyadi and Champville, but with the absence of their star center Julian Khazzouh, who was missing due to injury and is expected to be back this friday against Amchit. Also, Chris Daniels, wasn’t up to the level expected from a player with such a profile. The main problem was him shooting from behind the arc numerous time instead of benefiting from his size under the basket. He was expected to be replaced by Quincy Douby, but the latter signed in Turkey instead, because of some problems in the Sagesse administration that cut off the deal.
In third place comes Amchit, who has the same amount of wins and losses as Sagesse, losing 2 games against Mouttahed and Sagesse while winning 7 times.
The newly reformed Amchit team, especially with the addition of coach Ghassan Sarkis and star player Fadi El Khatib, delivered a very good performance and remains close to the top. Basically, Amchit is also a strong contender in the league. especially with the recent addition of France center Ali Traore, and the outstanding level Jeremiah Massey is showing.
In 4th and 5th place stand Byblos and Mouttahed. each with 6 wins and 3 losses. Mouttahed lost against Riyadi, Sagesse and Byblos, though the losses against Sagesse and Byblos came without their star Hassan Whiteside, who returned from injury in the middle of the 1st leg. They lost against Riyadi after overtime, which proves that they have all assets to compete for the championship. Not to forget that Ghaleb Reda will be joining the side in April, which will make them even more fierce and strong.
As for Byblos, the team lost against Sagesse,Riyadi and Amchit. The losses against Amchit and Sagesse came after Byblos blew the lead they had in the first three quarters. Indeed, it seems the team is disappearing in the 4th quarter, with only Jay Youngblood fighting hard for the win and delivering out of this world performances. Mike Fraiser doesn’t seem the Mike we knew last year, so Byblos should probably change him if he doesn’t improve and bring help to Jay and his teammates, who need only a capable big guy to compete even more.
In 6th and 7th place, come Tadamon and Champville, each with 3 wins and 6 losses. The battle for 6th will be raging until the end of the season, with both teams wanting it to have a better chance qualifying to the final 4. But matter of fact, any opponent they will get will be hard since the first 5 teams are very close to each other!
Champville is relying on the european style, with coach Kets focusing on defensive and organized team work on offense, and the prove on that is choosing a european point guard to run the offense instead of american scoring machine Andre Emmet!
Tadamon on the other hand, is relying way too much on the american duo Famous-Roberston and the speed of Nadim Souaid on the fasbtreak.
Right behind Tadamon and Champville, there are† and Bejjeh both with 2 wins and 7 losses, who are fighting to remain in the top 8, thus enter the final 4 and avoid relegation. Homenetmen is being a very fierce opponent on their court in Mezher, causing trouble to all teams that go there, while Bejjeh are delivering fine performances with the mixture of young and experienced players like Joey Zaloum, Mario Abboud, Tarek Dagher and guided by coach Patrick Seba.
In last place comes Hoops, who is struggling to find their pace in the league, and not having a decent foreign center. They’re been making changes on that position since the start of the league, and now hope that new recruit Sani Sakakakini will fill the gap and set them on the right track. Ashton Gibbs, their second foreigner has been very good but needs help, even though Lebanese players like Amir Eid and Hussein Tawbe have been very good this season so far. Hoops needs to start winning to avoid relegation and climb up the ladder to reach at least 8th place.
Photo credit: Lebanese Basketball federation