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Final Standings
Group A

Group Standings
Group A
1.Al Rayyan 3-0
2.Sangmu 2-1
2.Muharraq 1-2
4.ASPAC 1-2
Group B
1.Al Wehda 4-0
2.Al Ittihad 3-1
3.Sanam 2-2
4.Petronas 1-3
5.Pun.Police 0-4
 
  MVP: Andrew Pitts Picks All the Prizes
The new Asian basketball champions Al Wahda have counted mainly on the Lebanese Al Riyadi Sporting Club American player Andrew Pitts. Just a look at the prizes that Pitts collected is indicative of his achievements during this tournament. Andrew Pitts succeeded in collecting all the accolades and was crowned with 4 Asian awards:
-MVP of Asia
-Best Scorer in Asia
-Best 3 point shooter in Asia
-Best scorer with the highest number of scored points in one game (he scored 48 points in the final game against al Rayan from Qatar (96-63).
At the beginning of the 2003-2004 season, Andrew Pitts (185-G-73, college: Houston-Tillotson) had signed for Lebanese Al Riyadi after having played for two years in Al Wahda (Damascus, Syria). He was congratulated by his club for his efforts as the club had agreed to loan Pitts to his previous team for the period of the Asian Champions Cup. Al-Riyadi Beirut also congratulated Al-Wahda Club for clinching the Asian title, a first for Al Wahda.


  Asia Final: Syrian Al Wahda Asian Champions; Al Rayyan Second, Sangmu Third
Al Wahda basketball club (Damscus, Syria) are the new Asian Basketball Champions 2003.

Final: Al Wahda (Syria) - Al Rayyan (Qatar) 96-63 (33-21, 51-30. 70-45, 96-63)
In a final held today December 27, 2003 in MABA stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,  in the context of the 14th Basketball Asian Champions Cup, the Syrian Al Wahda beat Al Rayyan Qatar handily 96-63 thus prohibiting Al Rayyan of a repeat performance of last year.  Also the injury of Al Rayyan's Brandon Dwaye Spann with a left hamstring muscle just 3 minutes into the game put Al Rayyan at a great disadvantage. Spann was benched the entire second half by coach Willie Charles Richrdson. But the player who hurt Al Rayyan most was non other than Andrew Pitts. And it was a massive performance by all means. The former Al Wahda and now Al Riyadi Sporting Beirut player, who is playing his third Asian campaign with Al Wahda was very hot as always with a seemingly unstoppable deadly shooting from all distances. Suffice to say he scored 48 points including 8 baskets from the three-point range. Another player who has been peforming consistently well was the Syrian Khaled Zeidan.
This is the first Asian title and gold medal for the Syrian club. In the year 2000 and during the games held in 11th Games held in Beirut, Al Wahda had finished sixth. They improved In 12th Games in Dubai the following year by coming third and getting the bronze. They also finsihed third in 2002 during the 1eth Games in Kuala Lumpur to culminate in this year's title.

3rd - 4th: Sangmu (South Korea) - Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 91-82:
In the 3rd and 4th position, Sangmu (South Korea) prevailed over Saudi Al Ittihad 91-82. It wasn't so at the beginning when Al Ittihad was ahead 15 points 31-15. But the zeal to keep the advantage wasn't there anyhow as the Koreans took over. Particularly forthcoming of the South Koreans were Lee Hyung-joo who scored 27 and Lee Kyu-sup who scored 25. During the entire games this time around,  Al Ittihad has been a mere shadow of what it was two years back when it won the title or even last year when it came runner-up. This time, Al Ittihad game was less than organized, not very collective and marred by difficulties from the start. Of course the only stable given throughout the games was the consistently good performance of Al Hilal's John Carter amidst the incosistent performance of Al Ittihad's Juhani, Maghribi and Robby Reed. John Carter scored 33 points tonight. The team manager Khaled ben Yammine also attributed the lacklustre performance to a sense of desperation and lack of 'esprit de corps' and coordination during games.  

5th - 6th: Sanam (Iran) - Al Muharraq (Bahrain) 86-80:  (half time 52-42)
Iranian Sanam held the fifth position after a victory over Al Muharraq (Bahrain) 86-80. In fact although it was a game where Sanam were almost always ahead, Al Muharraq gave them difficult times. Because of defensive tackles and a physical game, four players, two of each team, fouled out. Topo scorer was Sanam's American import Jamal Sharif Watkins. Veisi also contributed defensively until he was fouled out.   

7th- 8th: Aspac (Indonesia) - Petronas (Malaysia) 97-84
Aspac dominated the game with Marik Wusang making most of the damage to the Malaysians. He scored 29 points. Petronas' import player, the American Jamal Livingston scored 27 and Petronas captain K. Satyaseelan made 20 points. Coach Felton Sealey attributed the loss partly on the exhausted status of his players in the previus games, particularl;y against Al Ittihad.  A very disappointing peformance by the local hosts whose only victory came over the Indian team the Young Cagers.  
More detailswill follow.

Final classification
14th Asia Champions Cup:
1. Al Wahda (Syria) - champions - gold medal
2. Al Rayyan (Qatar) - runners up - silver medal
3. Sangmu (South Korea) bronze medal
4. Al Ittihad (saudi Arabia)
5. Sanam (Iran)
6. Al Muharraq (Bahrain)
7. Aspac (Indonesia)
8. Petronas (Malaysia)
9. Punjab Police Young Cagers (India)

List of Asian Champions - Basketball - Men:
1st Games (in Hong Kong, 1981)          - August First (China)
2nd (in Ipoh, Malaysia, 1984)                -  Northern Cement (Philippines)
3rd (in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1988)          -  Swift PABL (Philippines)
4th (in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1990)           - Liaoning (China)
5th (in Bangkok, Thailand, 1992)           - Kia Motors (South Korea)
6th (in Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, 1995) - PBL Andok (Philippines)
7th (in Manila, Philippines, 1996)            - Happee Toothpaste (Philippines)
8th (in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1997)            - Regal (Hong Kong)
9th (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,1998)    -Hanwei (China)
10th (in Beirut, Lebanon,1999)              -Al Hekmeh Sagesse (Lebanon)
11th (in Beirut, Lebanon, 2000)             -Al Hekmeh Sagesse (Lebanon)
12th (in Dubai, UAE, 2001)                    -Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)
13th (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2002) -Al Rayyan (Qatar)
14th (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2002) -Al Wahda (Syria)
Thus far Lebanese Sagesse (Hekmeh) remains the only basketball club in the history of the Asian Club Championships with a double title and consecutively in the years 1999 and 2000. Arab basketball clubs (namely Al Hekmeh Sagesse twice, then Al Itthad, then Al Rayyan and now Al Wahda) have kept the title for the fifth consecutive time in Asia proving the great advance of basketball in the Arab World particularly in the last decade.
 


  An All Arab Asian Basketball Final: Al Rayyan vs Al Wahda

Asian Semi-Fianl Games:
Al Rayyan (Qatar) - Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 94-88 (29-23, 51-44, 69-63, 94-88)
The semi final between the two Asian champion clubs Qatari Al Rayyan and Saudi Al Ittihad was a roller-coaster of a game. Al Rayyan, the incumbent champions started leading the game 15-5, but soon Al Ittihad caught up through Ali al Maghribi 17-13. Rayyan coach Willie Charles made the necessary changes to end the quarter safely leading by six 29-23. In the second Al Rayyan started to play better and was leading at one point by 20 points no less. But Al Rayyan kept the game in contention at half by keping the gap at a manageable level 51-44. But in a strange twist of events, Al Ittihad took back the game in the fourth by storm, equalized and even went ahead 79-73 thanks to brilliant play by John Carter (loan player from Al Hilal) who scored 30 points during this game and through great shooting from three-point range by Jaber al Qarni. And had it not been for the two three-pointers and one more basket for a swift 8 points by Salah Ateeq for his Al Rayyan team, they would have been into big trouble indeed. In the final moments of confusion, and after Ali Turky's and Sherell Ford's baskets, the deadly three point shot yet again, by who else, Mr. MVP of the day Salah Ateeq put an end to a game that could have conceivably gone to Al Ittihad really hadn't it not been to the heroics of this young and very brave man indeed.

Al Wahda (Syria) - Sangmu (South Korea) 107-78

In the other semi final it was an easy win for Syria's Al Ittihad over Sangmu of South Korea with a 29-point margin. It was very much one-sided affair from start to finish. Koreans exhausted by the great game they had the previous night against Al Rayyan simply gave up and were very unproductive. It was not a fitting semi-final to an Asian Cup as the Al Rayyan-Al Ittihad match-up for example. Khaled Zeidan made 30 points and Andrew Pitts made 27 points. Korean Lee Kyu-sup made 17.  
In any case, with this great win, the Syrians have stretched their wins into 5 in a row and have reached the final for the first time in the club's history. And deservedly so. Last year, Al Wahda finished third in the Asian Champions keep, its best showing in the club's history. They have already gone one step further already by being in the Top 2. The final between the two Arab teams, Al Rayyan (Qatar) and Al Wahda (Syria), will be held tomorrow the 27th of December.

Positions will be decided after these games:
1st and 2nd: Al Rayyan (Qatar) vs Al Wahda (Syria)
3rd and 4th: Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) vs Sangmu (South Korea)
5th and 6th: Al Muharraq (Bahrain) vs Sanam (Iran)
7th and 8th: Aspac (Indonesia) vs Petronas (Malaysia)
9th: Punjabi Police Young Cagers (India) without any position deciding game.


  Day 4: Asian Cup Semi-Finalists: Al Rayyan vs Al Ittihad, Al Wahda vs Sangmu
Day 4 of the 14th Asian Basketball Champions Cup on Christmas Day was D-Day, the most hectic and decisive in MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Group A Qatari Al Rayyan made a clean sweep after a third victory over South Korea's Sangmu 103-91. But despite this, Sangmu still made it to the semi finals as Bahrain's Al Muharraq was defeated by Indonesia's Aspac 91-84, the first win for Aspac in the tournament. In Group B, Saudi Al Itthad barely escaped with its skin 71-70 against the local Malaysian side Petronas and made it to the semi-finals. Al Wahda had already qualified anyway. Meanwhile Iranian Sanam scored a victory on Indian Young Cagers (Punjabi Police) 106-91. The Indians came dead last with 0-4.:

Al Rayyan (Qatar) - Sangmu (South Korea) 103-91
(31-14, 54-46, 74-70, 103-91)
Sangmu had a disastrous start 2-18 and 4-22!! Al Rayyan with its starting five line-up of Yaseen Ismail, Hashem Zeydan, Ali Turky, Brandon Spann and Willard Sherell Ford was that dominant in the first quarter. Surely the Korean team made some damage control, but was still losing handily by 17 points in the first quarter 31-14. As Al Rayyan excelled and increased its advance to a double score 44-22 in the second quarter. The Qatari coach made one noticeable change introducing Rayyan captain Salah Ateeq to take over. But suddenly the until-now dried up Sangmu started hitting from the long range and with consecutive threes reduced the deficit to just 8 points at the half 54-46. Not only that, as the entire Al Rayyan defense loosened, the Koreans continued their onslaught to force a draw 62-62 and again 68-68 and 70-70 draws. But thanks to two baskets by Hashem Zeydan and Sherell Ford, the Qataris made it safely to the fourth 74-70. After a short 5-0 run for Sangmu in which they were briefly ahead 75-74 for the first time in the game, the Qatari star Yaseen Ismail shined with making of 6 consecutive points for Al Rayyan 80-75 soon to be answered by Sangmu with a three 80-78. After Brandy Spann made one free throw of two 81-78, the Koreans responded with yet another deadly three 81-81. But eventually, in the most crucial last minutes, Al Rayan prevailed through a collective effort by all team members: Ali Turky made 2 very importnat threes and Yaseen Ismail and Sherell Ford sank in two field goals amidst desperation in the Korean side. Al Rayyan sealed the game 103-91 and have now gone 3-0 thus far to finish top of their group to meet their traditional rivals Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in an awaited semi-final.

Aspac (Indonesia) - Al Muharraq (Bahrain) 91-84
(half time 42-45)
Although Bahrain's Al Muharraq was slightly ahead at the half, the Indonesian side was much better in the second half. Instrumental in Aspac's win were Rossell Ellis with a massive 32 points and 14 rebounds. All Ellis' Asian games have finished with double doubles actually. Other local elements who also made an impact: Romy C. Chandra with 12, Mario Wuysang with 11 and Denny Sumargo with 10 points. Despite this first ever win in this tournament, Aspac languished in the last position in Group A and will play for 7th -8th position against Malaysian Petronas, whereas Al Muharraq again with a 1-2 record, but better goal difference will play for 5th - 6th position against Iran's Sanam.

Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) - Petronas (Malaysia) 71-70
(half time 47-39)
Al Ittihad made it to the semis but just... Despite establishing a slight lead in the first half, the team seemed physically tired as the local Malaysian favorites Petronas put up a great performance and would have stolen the chances of Al Ittihad from qualifying. But apparently Al Ittihad survived. This is the second close call for the Asian champions two years ago and Asian runners up last year. Al Ittihad had also survived against Sanam with a last-minute sitch after losing heavily against Al Wehda. In any case, having finished second they have to meet Al Rayyan again! In the strangest of coincidences, the two traditional Arab basketball powerhouses and bitter rivals are meeting for the third time in such events in three consecuitive Asian tournaments. In the 12th Asian Basketball Champions Cup, the two teams met in Dubai and Al Ittihad won the day and was declared Asian Champions. In the 13th Champions Cup, yet again another classic match-up in Malaysia, and this time Al Rayyan won and became Asian champions. In the 14th games now under way, they yet again meet albeit in the semi-finals.

Sanam (Iran) - Punjabi Police Young Cagers (India) 106-91

Strangely enough, the Indians scored some high points tonight and lost by just 15 which in itself is an achievement for the embattled Indian side as they had lost handily: by 54 points against Al Wahda, by 49 points against Al Ittihad and by 32 points against Petronas. The strong Sanam will play for the 5th and 6th positions, whereas the Young Cagers are 9th without any need for a final classification match.

Program for the Finals:

After these results, the classification rounds have been decided as follows:
Friday Dec 26, 2003

Semi Final 1: Al Rayyan Qatar (Group A leader) vs Al Ittihad Saudi Arabia (2nd in Group B)
Semi Final 2: Al Wahda Syria (Group B leader) vs Sangmu South Korea (2nd in Group A)
7th - 8th positions: Aspac Indonesia (4th in Group A) vs Petronas Malaysia (4th in Group B)
Saturday Dec. 27, 2003

Final: Winners of the two semi-final match-ups
3rd - 4th positions: Losers from the two semi final match-ups
5th - 6th positions: Al Muharraq (3rd in Group A) vs Sanam Iran (3rd in Group B)

Classification - After Day 4, End of Preliminary Round

Group A:

1. Al Rayyan (Qatar)              3-0    290-232    +58
2. Sangmu (South Korea)       2-1    283-284      -1
3. Al Muharraq (Bahrain)        1-2    245-265    -20
4. Aspac (Indonesia)              1-2    252-289    -37  
Group B:

1. Al Wahda (Syria)                4-0    433-314  +119
2. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)      3-1    340-297    +43
3. Sanam (Iran)                       2-2     352-348     +4
4. Petronas (Malaysia)            1-3     314-309     +5
5. Punjabi Police (India)            0-4     286-436  -150



Ali
AlMagrabi


  Asia Day 4: Al Wahda's Onslaught Continues As They Go 4-0; Al Ittihad Still in Contention After Win Over Sanam
Day 4 of Asian Champions Cup saw a fourth win by Al Wahda of Syria over hosts Petronas of Malaysia by 92-79 virtually eliminating Petronas' chances of qualifying. Saudi Al Ittihad is certainly closer to the semis after winning over Sanam Iran 88-83. Finally in Group A, Korean Sangmu kept their chances alive after eliminating Aspac of Indonesia 109-88.

Sangmu (South Korea) - Aspac (Indonesia) 109-88
South Koreans scored an importnat win tonight and deservedly so. South Korean Lee Kyu-sup was on fire tonight as he scored 31 points no less including 7 three-points! Besides Lee Kyu-sup, Korean Lee Hyung-joo excelled with 27 and Cho Sang-kyun with 25. Aspac's trump card center Ikenna Nwankwo made a huge effort and a double double with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Equally impressive was Rosell Ellis with 29 points and 24 rebounds. Riko Hantono was best of the local Indonesian players scoring 15 points. This victory has kept Korean Sangmu team well in contention whereas the Indonesian Aspac is out with two losses. Mathematically, now it’s a three-way fight now between Asian title holders Al Rayyan of Qatar, Sangmu of South Korea and Al Muharraq of Bahrain with the advantage that Al Rayyan is 2-0 and way ahead in gola average whereas the other two are 1-1. In a busy day on Decemeber 26, 2003, final match-ups in Group A will include Al Rayyan-Sangmu and Al Muharraq-Aspac.

Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) - Sanam (Iran) 88-83 (half time 51-41)
Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad have great chances of qualifying in Group 2 after their victory over Sanam. Their lead came very early as they were already ahead by 10 points 51-41. Sanam staged a comeback in the second half but fell short of reaching Al Ittihad. Ali Al Maghribi (200-F-75) in his best game thus far in Malaysia was excellent. He was crowned top scorer for the Saudis with 27 points. Also instrumental in leading a collective game for the team was the experienced international Mohsen Khalaf. Iranian Sanam's player Mohamad Samad scored 27 points and was joint top scorer alongside Maghribi. One game remains for Al Ittihad in round 1 against the local Malaysian side Petronas. It was a pleasant surprise to note that Saudi national television will broadcast the game live. This is the first game that Saudi stations will broadcast live after great interest in the goings on for Al Ittihad in Asia.  

Al Wahda (Syria) - Petronas 92-79
Petronas kept pace in the first quarter that finished 26-26 as Jamal Livingston and William Carlos Booker participated on Petronas side. But at a price as Booker, exactly like in the previous game against Sanam had already committed three fouls. As coach Felton Sealey sided him, this was the signal for All Wahda to edge ahead decisively. Booker returned after half0-time but Petronas could hardly catch on. Petronas are virtually out in case they do not win Al Ittihad by 24 points or more tomorrow.

Classification after Day 4:
Group A:

1. Al Rayyan (Qatar)          2-0   187-141    +46
2. Al Muharraq (Bahrain)    1-1   161-174     -13
3. Sangmu (South Korea)   1-1   192-181     +11
4. Aspac (Indonesia)          0-2    161-205     -44

Group B:
1. Al Wahda (Syria)            4-0    433-314  +119
2. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)  2-1    269-227    +42
3. Sanam (Iran)                   1-2     246-257    -11
4. Petronas (Malaysia)        1-2     244-239     +5
5. Punjab Police (India)        0-3     195-330  -135



Sherell Ford



  Asian Day 3: Important Wins for Al Rayyan Against Al Muharraq and Al Wehda Against Sanam

Day 3 of the 14th Asian Basketball Clubs Championship Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, two teams have qualified for all intents and purposes. These are from Group A champions Al Rayyan after their emphatic win over Al Muharraq 91-68. The other is the strong Al Wahda team from Damascus, Syria who have scored an all-important win over Iran's Sanam 105-85. Saudi Arabian Al Ittihad smashed the Indian Punjab Police Young Cagers 103-54. In details:

Al Rayyan (Qatar) - Al Muharraq (Bahrain) 91-68 (half time 47-44)
In Group A, Asian incumbent basketball club champions Al Rayyan have scored a huge victory 91-68 and are now 2-0. At half-time, In the first half, there was a balanced match in which notably Al Muharraq was effective from the three-point range. However despite this, Al Rayyan managed to lead 47-44. In the third quarter, and upon the urgence of Rayan coach Willy Charles Richardson, the Rayyan defensive machine went into full action and shattering the Muharraq offense into smitherines. Al Muharraq was able to score only 5 points in the entire third and was desperately out of action. A huge work by the stars of the game Ford, Ismail and Spann. The MVP of the game with his efforts offensively and defensively was Willard Sherell Ford (201-F-72, agent: Gonzalez Mike, college: Illinois-Chicago) who scored 33 points. Al Rayyan's international star Yaseen Ismail has also regained his sharpness after return from injury and was very effective tonight through delightful defense and accurate shooting making 20 points. Al Rayyan's other American import Brandy Dwayne Spann sank in 19 points for Al Rayyan. Otrher contributors to Qatari win: Hashem Zeydan and Muhammad Orabi with contributing 8 points each, Ali Turky 5 and Salah Ateeq 2 points.

Al Wahda (Syria) - Sanam (Iran) 105-85
This was a crucial game for both teams. Clearly the Syrian side was much better and prevailed at the end. The Syrians have now gone 3-0 and have solidified their position at the top of Group B. Sanam, Petronas and Al Ittihad have all chances for qualifying as runners up to meet Al Rayyan, top of Group A.

Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) - Punjab Police Young Cagers (India) 103-54
Al Ittihad have are now the third team to smash the Young Cagers with a score of above 100. This time it was 103-54 after Cagers lost to Petronas 101-69 and to Al Wahda 126-72. Coach Sabit Hadzic preferred to rest his main players for games ahead. For example, Robert Reed played very symbolically and the approval of John Carter (the loan player from Saudi Al Hilal) came only after 7 minutes of the start of the game.... In any case, Ali al Maghribi was top scorer from Al Ittihad with 20 points. Also great efforts from Mohsen Khalaf, Jaber al Qarni and Khaldun al Muwalled. If Al Ittihad want to keep their chances alive for qualifying to the semis, they have to tackle much stiffer competition in Days 4 and 5 against Sanam and Petronas. All three teams are 1-1 and still have oractically equal chances to qualify as runners up to face a match-up against Al Rayyan in Group A.

Standings after day 3:

Group A:
1. Al Rayyan (Qatar)          2-0   187-141     +46
2. Al Muharraq (Bahrain)    1-1   161-174     -13
3. Sangmu (South Korea)   0-1     83-93       -10
4. Aspac (Indonesia)          0-1     73-96       -23

Group B:
1. Al Wahda (Syria)            3-0    341-235  +106
2. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)  1-1    181-144    +37
3. Petronas (Malaysia)        1-1    165-147    +18
4. Sanam (Iran)                   1-1    163-169       -6
5. Punjab Police (India)        0-3    195-330   -135


  Asia Day 2: Al Muharraq defeats Sangmu; Petronas' First Loss to Sanam Iran
In the second day of the 14th Asian Cup in MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosts Petronas suffered their first defeat to Sanam Iran 78-64. Al Muharraq's opener game with Sangmu (South Korea) ended with the former's victory 93-83. Finally Al Wehda had a walk-over on Piunjab Police Young Cagers 126-72. Details:

Al Muharraq (Bahrain) - Sangmu (South Korea) 93-83 (By quarter: 16-25, 39-45, 60-67, 93-83)
In Group A that has only 4 teams, today was the opening day for both the teams. Sangmu showed the better play throughout three quarters after having established an early lead of 9. Al Muharraq's huge revival came in the fourth when they had a 33-15 run simply outgunning the Korean when it really counted and had the final say with a 10-point victory. Bahraini forward Ibrahim Al Derazi (192-F-) was top scorer for the Arab side with 28 points including 6 from the three point range. Also prominant were the two American imports Dominique and Roy. In defense, Al Muharraq'a Ahmad al Doy and Abdel Rida Abdel Hussein greatly contributed to stopping the Korean onslaught. South Korea's Choo Sang-hyun was top scorer on their side wuth 23 points.
 
Sanam Iran - Petronas (Malaysia) 78-64 (half time 35-39, 3rd Q: 60-47):
Group B seems to be busier because there are 5 teams in contention. The hosts Petronas had their first real test tonight, as their opening game against the Indian Young Cagers was not indicative at all. In any case, they started quite well and by half were ahead by 4 points 39-35 spearheaded by the recruits Jamal Livingston (201-F-78, college: Cal.St.-Bakersfield) and William Carlos Booker. However the strong defense of Booker under the basket caused more headaches than relief to Petronas coach Felton Sealey who withdrew his trump card Booker all the third quarter. This was the opportunity that Iranian Sanam used to put an effective stop to any offensive or defensive effort by the Malaysians reducing them  to just 8 points in the third whereas Sanam Iran pounded the Petronas basket with 25 points in 10 minutes, a +17 point run 60-47. The Iranians played safe in the fourth despite the return of Booker to the floor for a deserving +14 point win. Notable in Sanam were Saeid Tabeshnia and the tall Mahmoud Khosravi. It is worthwhile to note that Sanam are not only champions of Iran, but top the Iranian league with a defeatless record 9-0! Sanam and Syrian Al Wehda are the clear favorites from Group B. Petronas have to face Al Wehda in Day 3 and must win if they want to keep their chances of qualification alive.
 
Al Wehda (Syria) - Punjab Police Young Cagers 126-72
I mean what more can we add. A 54 point Syrian onslaught in which many local Syrian players participated in scoring. Andrew Pitts (185-G-73, college: Houston-Tillotson) yet again was top scorer with 28 points tonight. He had made a top scoring 24 yesterday against a tougher competition, namely Saudi Al Ittihad. This is the highest scoring game thus far.
 
 
Classification after Day 2
Group A
1. Al Rayyan (Qatar) 1-0 96-73 +23
2. Al Muharraq (Bahrain) 1-0 93-83 +10
3. Sangmu (South Korea) 0-1 83-93 -10
4. Aspac (Indonesia) 0-1 73-96 -23
Group B
1. Al Wehda (Syria) 2-0 236-150 +86
2. Petronas (Malaysia) 1-1 165-147 +18
3. Sanam (Iran) 1-0 78-64 +12
4. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 0-1 78-90 -12
5. Punjab Police (India) 0-2 141-227 -86
 
Historical: Malaysia a basketball hosting nation par excellence.
Out of the 14 Asia Cup tournaments, Malaysia has organized 5 on its own. The earliest was for the 2nd Asian Cup in 1984. Then it followed playing host for the sixth games in 1995, the 9th games in 1998, the 13th games and 14th games consecutively. For the 14th Asian Cup this year, the original venue was to be Taiwan, but the event was moved to Malaysia after the SARS scare earlier this year.



Brandon
Spann



  Asia Day 1:Al Rayyan and Al Wehda Edge Ahead; Petronas Has an Easy Day

Day 1 (December 21, 2004): The 14th Asian Club Championships were inaugurated on MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) followed by a match between hosts Petronas and Indian Young Cagers / Punjab Police. It was an easy game. Prior to inauguration though, there were two games of great importance. Al Rayyan the Asian incumbent champions had the better day, but champions two years ago Saudia's Al Ittihad lost against tough Syrian competition from Damscus-based Al Wehda. In details

Al Rayyan (Qatar) - Aspac (Indonesia) 96-73 (19-19, 45-30, 70-53, 96-73)
In Group A match, Qatari Al Rayyan was in good form tonight as Asian and Qatari All-star They also had an edge as they had two import players on court to Indonesia's just one. Perhaps had Aspac been able to use the services of the 6'10 Okenna Chukuemeka Nwanko, who played in Darussafaka (Turkey), but he didn't arrive because of travel complications. With him, they could have gained a height advantage at least. Kevin Simmons, the original second import player of Aspac was not available either. Thus the bigger advartage to the champions Al Rayyan. Yaseen Ismail showed a huge game with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Aspac's center Ikenna Chukuemenka Nwankankwo was very productive as he made a double double 16 points and 12 rebounds. Indonesian Aspac's foreign player Rosell Ellis (199-F-75, college: Mc Neese St.) made a double double himself with 21 points and an amazing 20 rebounds. But still both Ike's and Rosell Ellis (199-F-75, college: Mc Neese St.)'s efforts were not left unanswered as Al Rayyan's foreign duo Brandon Dwayne Spann and Willard Sherell Ford (201-F-72, agent: Gonzalez Mike, college: Illinois-Chicago) made remarkable impact for a win. Brandon Spann (186-G-81) made 33 points and brought in 7 rebounds whereas his teammate, Willard Sherell Ford who sank another 25 points and made 8 rebounds himself. Aspac were in the picture mainly in the first quarter which they were able to finish 19-19. But by half they were already far behind by 15 points 40-25.
Al Rayyan (96): Brandon Dwayne Spann 33 pts 7 rebounds, Willard Sherrel Ford 25 pts 8 reb, Yaseen Ismail 17 pts 6 reb, Ali Turki Ali 7, Saleh Ateeq 6, Hashem Zaidan 6 points, Abu Bakr Muhammad 2 points.
Hewlett-Packard Aspac (73): Rossell Ellis 21 points 20 rebounds, Denny Sumargo 18, Ikenna Nwankwo 16 pts 12 boards, Riko Hantono 9, Mario Wuysang 5, Romy C. Chandra 2, Antonius Joko Endratmo 2.
 
Group B:
Al Wehda (Syria) - Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 90-78
Al Ittihad had started on a wrong foot anyway as the Asian Basketball Confederation turned down John Carter's application. Carter was a loan player from Al Hilal, but apparently the paperwork was short and the legal ceeding papers were not adequate to include him in the line-up. Apparently Carter did have some time of play on conditiion that the Ittihad administration completes his papers. The Saudi side was hit by another obstacle when the organizers made objections on the color of the uniform worn by Al Ittihad. The team was also hit by an incredibly high number of foul calls, argued Ibrahim Barnawi, head of the Saudi delegation. He said if these undue presures persist, they may seriously think of withdawing altogether. Regrdaing the game, The Syrians were more effective and could edge ahead for a very precious win. The Syrian adavnce was spearheaded by Andrew Pitts, their loan player from Al Riyadi Beirut. He scored 24 points tonight. The team is also fortified with two loan player from local Syrian teams, namely Michel Maadanli of Al Jaysh and Mohammad al Imam from Al Ittihad Aleppo. Walid al Madani was the best on the Saudi side. Both Saudi foriegn players ahd a limited time of play because of foul trouble.    
 
Group B:
Petronas (Malaysia) - Punjab Pollice Young Cagers (India) 101-69 (Half time 57-40)
The hosts Petronas had an easy opener against a rather weak Indian representative for a resounding win. Petronas established an early lead of 17 points at half. The indian side just gave up in the second half for a 32 points loss no less.
 
Classification:
Group A:
1. Al Rayyan, Qatar 1-0 96-73 +23
2. Equal Muharraq (Bahrain) 0-0
2. Sangmu (S. Korea) 0-0
4. Aspac (Indonesia) 0-1 73-96 -23
Group B:
1. Petronas (Malaysia) 1-0 101-69 +32
2. Al Wehda (Syria) 1-0 90-78 +12
3. Sanam (Iran) 0-0
4. Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) 0-1 78-90 -12
5. Punjab Police Young Cagers (India) 0-1 101-69 -32

Historical -Asian Champions:
As for titles, after Far Eastern dominance was pervasive throughout the initial period. But the last 4 titles have all gone to Arab Asian teams.
1st Games (1981) - August First (China)
2nd (1984) - Northern Cement (Philippines)
3rd (1988) - Swift PABL (Philippines)
4th (1990) Liaoning (China)
5th (1992) Kia Motors (South Korea)
6th (1995) PBL Andok (Philippines)
7th (1996) Happee Toothpaste (Philippines)
8th (1997) Regal (Hong Kong)
9th (1998) Hanwei (China)
10th (1999) Al Hekmeh Sagesse (Lebanon)
11th (2000) Al Hekmeh Sagesse (Lebanon)
12th (2001) Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)
13th (2002) Al Rayyan (Qatar)


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