Lebanese Basketball League-Preview: Byblos vs Louaize

18 Mar.2017– It’s 5th versus 3rd today in Jbeil as Louaize eye 4th spot after defeating hosts.

Byblos’ ego has been dealt a big blow after back to back losses, the last being a blow-out against Champville.

Jay and co hope to get back on track with a win today. Releasing Ebi had a bad effect on the team. They look fased and uncomfortable on court. Their only chance of winning today is based on how much they can hold Geron. His abilities to drive the lane and create space for himself is second to none. While he may face Jay, Geron must keep his cool as he often loses his temper after a hard foul or harsh defense. Vice versa, Louaize should keep an eye on Jay as he is their driving force. As we saw last Thursday, he is the only guy on that team who can create, thread the needle and take tough shots. Shut him down and you’re half way there.

Down low, Ali Traore and Wendell Lewis will fight for supremacy. Both players have a good low post presence, good footwork and use of the glass. Nonetheless, Lewis has shown he can handle big guys defensively as he schooled Robert Upshaw in their game on Sunday. Putting either one of them in foul trouble will give the opposition a huge boost. So with Geron cutting time after time, Traore better keep his hands up. The second matchup between Travis McKie and Ali Kanaan is not to be underestimated. It’s actually the matchup that can win or lose you the game. Ali should not live by the 3pt line as he usually does when he faces tall opponents. His post up game has been deteriorating and he must act fast. As for McKie, he has been great. Taking those threes at the right time and driving the lane to open up spaces for Lewis. If McKie isn’t contained, troubles are bound to happen in Jbeil.

As for Clay Tucker, he hasn’t been that influential on court. Yes, he is the player with the most three-point shots made, but they come silently and often when games are already over. With Stephan still out, Ribal Bechara and Jimmy Salem can take turns and silence him up. Jimmy showed great hustle and faith in himself in his last game. We look forward to seeing the same in this one.

Finally, Byblos need their PG back. Rodrigue isn’t playing his best basketball. Is it because of the shoulder injury? The important thing is that Ali Mahmoud can not handle 30+ minutes a game. Rodrigue must regain his form or Byblos are in deep trouble. As we said time and time again, blocking Akl will put more pressure on Jay. Game after game he will rack up those tough minutes, as he might finally break, fatigue and all. On the other hand, Miguel Martinez has elevated his game and might be knocking on the NT doors after Wael’s injury.